- 1/2 pound mild sausage meat
- Eight 8-inch flour or corn tortillas
- 2 cups coarsely grated Monterey Jack, Muenster or mozzarella cheese (about 5 ounces)
- 2 large poblanos or other mildly hot chiles, seeded and cut into thin strips
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- 2 cups small cilantro sprigs
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 1 cup fresh tomato salsa
- In a medium skillet, cook the sausage meat over moderate heat, stirring to break it up, until no trace of pink remains, about 8 minutes. Remove the sausage from the skillet with a slotted spoon and let cool briefly.
- Set 4 tortillas on a work surface and top with the sausage meat, cheese and poblano strips. Sprinkle the pumpkin seeds on top and cover with the remaining tortillas.
- Heat 1/8 inch of vegetable oil in a large heavy skillet until shimmering. Add 1 of the quesadillas and fry over moderately high heat until puffed and golden on the bottom, about 30 seconds. Press down with a spatula, flip and fry the other side for 30 seconds. Drain on paper towels and repeat with the remaining quesadillas.
- In a medium bowl, toss the cilantro sprigs, lime juice and a pinch of salt. Quarter the quesadillas if desired and garnish with the dressed cilantro sprigs and salsa. Serve immediately.
Hearty reds, especially California Zinfandels, are made for foods like this. Look for fruity examples such as those from Chateau Montelena.
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Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.