Saturday, May 3, 2008

An exercise in substitution

Isn't it annoying when you conceive of the perfect dish and then find that you can't get your hands on the neccessary ingredients, thus forcing you to alter your initial, flawless vision? Such was the case for me last night when cooking dinner with a few friends. I wanted to make salsa and something vaguely Mexican to go with it, and I wanted to use up some nice brown mushrooms that I got at the co-op last week. The idea was born: goat cheese and mushroom quesadillas. Yes! That lovely interplay between the creamy, tangy cheese and the mellow, earthy mushrooms: the dish would be the ideal balance between authentic Mexican food and Americanized fusion cuisine.

Sadly, when I sent Malcolm to the store to pick up ingredients, he called to report, in his words, what could only be described as "a minor crisis": there was no goat cheese available, nor any cilantro, so key to any salsa. Still, we soldiered on. Malcolm got jack cheese instead, and we were forced to forego any green, vibrant herb for the salsa. It was pretty tasty nonetheless.

Here's the salsa we ended up with, rather colorful anyway, and featuring roasted corn kernels:

















We sauteed the mushrooms, seasoned them with salt and pepper, and layered them on top of the shredded cheese inside the quesadilla:

















Placed another tortilla on top and cooked them up over low heat in ungreased skillets until golden brown on both sides, about 5-7 minutes. Voila, the finished product:















Seriously good eats, despite the last-minute alterations.

Tomato and Red Onion Salsa with Roasted Corn Kernels

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

1. Oil two ears of shucked corn and season with salt. Roast in a 375° oven for 12-15 minutes, turning occasionally. Let cool, then slice kernels off cobs and place in a bowl.
2. Halve and seed 5 plum tomatoes. Finely dice them and add them to the bowl, along with half a red onion, finely diced. Finally, add 2-3 minced garlic cloves.
3. Add the juice of one lime to the salsa and season heavily with salt. If you have fresh cilantro, chop it and add a goodly amount.

1 comment:

Malcolm said...

Yeah, I actually deemed it "a total Hiroshima." Check your facts!

PS: digging the post labels! Very useful.