In a bind

Anna Jones’s flat­breads

The Guardian - Cook - - Front Page - Anna Jones

Que­sadil­las are re­ally just sand­wiched flat­breads, which in some form or an­other you’ll find in al­most ev­ery cul­ture

The hap­pi­est days of my childhood were spent in northern Cal­i­for­nia, just north of San Fran­cisco. We lived in a bun­ga­low that had a small back gar­den with a lemon tree, spent week­ends at the beach or pic­nick­ing in red­wood forests.

Most nights we ate sim­ply at home, lean­ing on the sun-laden pro­duce from sur­round­ing farms: av­o­ca­dos for al­most ev­ery meal, or­anges and lemons straight from the trees. Some­times, we’d walk a cou­ple of blocks to buy a peaky-topped cup of choco­late frozen yo­ghurt, which we’d eat on the spot. It was all pretty whole­some in the times be­fore we started ven­tur­ing out for our din­ner.

Later, as older kids, we loved those cheery Amer­i­can joints – the ones with a menu longer than your arm, where the wait­resses wear name badges and bot­tom­less cof­fees are served all day. The food was al­ways Amer­i­can with a nod to Mex­ico, and as kids we loved it. Crisp potato skins, topped with a melt­ing of cheese dipped into chivepep­pered sour cream, shoe­string fries and bur­ri­tos. But what we loved the most were the que­sadil­las – two flour tor­tillas fried on the plan­cha un­til crisp, then sand­wiched around a very gen­er­ous layer of melted Mon­terey Jack cheese, cut into wedges and served with gua­camole and salsa. These tri­an­gles of joy were served as a starter, but were re­ally big enough to be a meal in their own right.

I make que­sadil­las a bit dif­fer­ently now, leav­ing the se­ri­ously cheese-laden ones in my mem­ory with choco­late milk­shakes and knicker­bocker glo­ries. In­stead, I use vegeta­bles, pulses, herbs and even eggs to make tex­tured fill­ings with pops of flavour that move from Mex­ico, to Italy, France, Morocco and back again. In fact, que­sadil­las are re­ally just sand­wiched flat­breads, which in some form or an­other you’ll find in al­most ev­ery cul­ture.

We make armies of them when we have a crowd to feed as they are the per­fect ve­hi­cle for dip­ping, a great snack with a cold beer in hand, and are pretty fuss-free. A que­sadilla al­lows you to play around and use what you have to hand. The main thing to think about is to fill your tor­tillas with some­thing that will bind the two sides to­gether – some cheese, egg or soft mashed vegeta­bles or beans are ideal.

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