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Guacamole: Now Inside the Quesadilla

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In his book A Platter of Figs, David Tanis has a recipe for avocado quesadillas. I remember reading it at my mom's over breakfast and noticing that it sounded delicious, but also thinking it was curiously simple, at least in a book that also contained recipes about how to make duck leg hams from scratch. Of course the idea of the cookbook, captured in its name, is that simplicity can trump complication. Thus, the three ingredient quesadilla, thus the platter of figs.

I couldn't get the idea of this quesadilla out of my head. But I had one major concern about it. Warm avocado is not my favorite, and I don't think I'm the only one who feels a little squeamish about this. It's one thing if fajita fillings warm the guacamole slightly, and it's a sacrifice worth making for seven-layer dip. But if I were going out of my way to put it in a quesadilla, I thought I owed it to myself to figure out a process that would keep the avocado as cool as possible. I melted the cheese with the tortilla open faced and then spread on the guacamole at the last minute, just before folding and eating.

I don't know exactly why having the avocado inside of the quesadilla seems like such a treat when, if I have an avocado, I could just as easily dip each bite into homemade guacamole--or just into avocado mash. But I guess there's something in the promise of a perfectly balanced bite of tortilla, avocado, and cheese that you just aren't guaranteed when you're dipping your quesadilla into a bowl of side-dish guacamole.

The quesadilla is a satisfying meal for one, the kind of thing I like to eat by myself when I've got no company other than cookbooks, which I read to plan future meals--just as I first read about this dish over breakfast cereal. Now that summer's here, my appreciation for this quesadilla has only grown. Stovetop meals strike the perfect balance between cold salads and turning on the oven to make a hearty meal, which is obviously just not feasible right now. For more quesadillas, hot food you can make in hot weather, check out this, this, and this.

-Cara Eisenpress of Big Girls, Small Kitchen

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Avocado Quesadillas
Makes 1

In David Tanis's recipe, if I recall correctly, the cheese was mozzarella, whose stretchiness when melted is, I imagine, a great counterpoint to the creamy avocado. It's on my list to try!

Ingredients
1/2 avocado
1 teaspoon lemon or lime juice
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon butter
1 tortilla
1/4 cup grated white cheddar

Mash the avocado with the lemon or lime juice and the salt.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Lay the tortilla down and sprinkle the cheddar across the surface. Cook until the cheese is melted and the bottom of the tortilla is deeply golden. Quickly spread the avocado mixture across one half of the tortilla. Turn off the heat and fold the tortilla in half, pressing down so the melted cheese glues it together.

Cut into wedges and serve immediately.

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