One particular meal that I enjoyed not once but twice was at a small restaurant just off the beach. The fact that I brought myself to order the same meal twice should speak to it's quality. It was in fact a shrimp and black bean quesadilla. It was perfection. Not too cheesy, just enough shrimp, creamy black beans, and also spicy enough to remind you of it's roots. The point that I could enjoy a fresh margarita with this meal did not hurt either. It was the perfect beach lunch!
We needed to settle in for a night at home yesterday with Hurricane Irene traveling up the East Coast. (We were incredibly fortunate and received only heavy wind and rain.) I thought that these quesadillas would make a perfect pair to some fresh tomato soup. Especially since I had a ton of tomatoes to use from my visit to the Farmer's Market the day before.
I decided that I should try and carry some similar flavors through both dishes to tie the meal together. I used ancho chili powder, cumin, and roasted peppers in each dish. The meal came together beautifully. The tomato soup was warm and clean. The ripe tomatoes were so sweet which highlighted the other vegetables; onions, cubanelle peppers and garlic. I think that ancho chili powder is a great to use especially when you want warmth without searing heat. It was able to stand out in both the quesadillas and the soup without overpowering the meal.
Not a bad way to weather a storm.
Shrimp and Black Bean Quesadillas
12oz of medium shrimp, peeled and cleaned
1 tsp of ancho chili powder
1 tsp of cumin
1/2 tsp of salt
4-10inch tortillas, flour or corn
1-14oz can of black beans, rinsed and drained
3 poblano peppers, halved
1 cup of reduced fat shredded cheese
Preheat the broiler. Place the poblano peppers, cut side down, on an oiled baking sheet. Place under the broiler until the skin starts to bubble. Set aside until cool enough to handle then peel and dice. In small bowl, combine the peppers and black beans.
After cleaning the shrimp, dry well. Place the shrimp on a oiled baking sheet. Toss with the ancho chili powder, cumin, and salt. Place under the broiler for 4-6 minutes until just pink.
Preheat the oven to 425degrees. Take one tortilla and cover 1/2 with 6-7 shrimp, 1/4 cup of cheese, and 1/3 cup of the bean/pepper mixture. Fold and place on an oiled line baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining tortillas and ingredients. Cover the quesadillas with a piece of aluminum foil and place another baking sheet on top. Cook in the oven, rotating once for 15-20 minutes.
Cut each quesadilla into 4 pieces. Serve with guacamole and salsa. Enjoy!
3 small onions, diced
3 TBS of olive oil
salt & pepper
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 TBS of tomato paste
1 TBS of Dijon mustard
1 TBS of ancho chili powder
1 TBS of cumin
3 cubanelle peppers, roasted under the broiler, peeled, and chopped
5 large fresh tomatoes, diced
2 cups of low-sodium vegetable broth
In a large pot, preheat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and 1/4 tsp of salt and pepper. After 3-4 minutes, stir in the garlic. Once the garlic and onions are soft, add in the tomato paste, Dijon mustard, chili powder, and cumin. Once combined well and heated throughout, add in the chopped cubanelle peppers and tomatoes. Once the tomatoes are very soft, use an immersion blender to smooth out the soup. Once you reach your desired consistency, slowly stir in the vegetable broth. Bring the soup to a simmer for 15-20 minutes. Serve with crusty bread, a dollop of sour cream, or a quesadilla perhaps. Enjoy!