Posted October 14, 2004 by Nick Lindauer in Recipes

Grilled quesadillas with shrimp and jalapeño pesto

Serves 4

For pesto:
8 jalapeño chiles
2 cups fresh cilantro leaves
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
For quesadillas:
3 ears corn, husked
12 (6-inch) flour tortillas
3 cups grated manchego cheese or a mixture of Monterey Jack and white cheddar
1 sweet onion (Walla Walla or Vidalia), sliced thinly into rounds
2 tablespoons finely chopped thyme leaves plus extra for garnish
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Olive oil
16 large shrimp, shelled and deveined

To prepare pesto: Heat grill to medium and roast jalapeños until charred all over. Place chiles in plastic bag, seal and let sit for 5 minutes. Remove chiles. Scrape off charred peel, remove stem and seeds and chop roughly.

Combine chiles, cilantro, garlic and pine nuts in a food processor or blender and whirl until smooth. With motor running, slowly pour in oil and blend until emulsified. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Scrape into a bowl and set aside.

For quesadillas: Remove kernels from corn by standing cobs on end in a large bowl and cutting downward with small, sharp knife. Discard cobs.

Place 8 tortillas on flat work surface. Divide cheese, onion, corn and thyme among tortillas and season with salt and pepper. Make 4 quesadillas by stacking the filled tortillas by twos and topping each stack with one of the remaining plain tortillas. Brush tops with oil.

Brush shrimp with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on grill preheated to medium and cook just until pink and lightly charred, about 2 minutes a side. Remove and set aside.

Carefully place quesadillas, oiled side down, on grill and cook until golden brown on bottom, about 2 minutes. Carefully turn quesadillas with a large metal spatula. Close grill cover and continue cooking about 2 minutes more, until cheese has melted and tortillas are crisp.

Remove quesadillas from grill and cut into quarters for serving. Top each quarter with 1 tablespoon of pesto and a grilled shrimp. Garnish with thyme and serve immediately.

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Nick Lindauer

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