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Pear & Camembert Quesadillas
by Bob Blumer
Magazine Issue: Internet Only

Pear & Camembert Quesadillas

This unusual combination of ingredients is a great starter for almost any meal and a guaranteed crowd pleaser. As easy to prepare as uno, dos, tres.

(serves 6)

1 lime
1/4 t salt
1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
4 8-inch flour tortillas
2 jalapeno or serrano chilies, seeds and membranes discarded, diced
1 ripe pears(s), peeled, cored and thinly sliced
6 oz. ripe Camembert cheese, sliced into 1/4-inch slices (rind removal is optional)
1 cup(s) lightly packed fresh cilantro, remove and discard stems before measuring

1. . Zest the lime(s), then juice them. Blend the zest, 1 tablespoon ** lime juice, salt and sour cream or plain yogurt with a fork until the mixture is smooth. Set aside in the refrigerator.

2. . Heat a 10-inch saute pan or cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Place 1 tortilla in the pan for approximately 40 seconds on each side or until it just begins to brown. Remove. Repeat with a second tortilla. (If you tortilla expands like a blow fish, poke it with a fork to release the hot air.)

3. . After the second tortilla has browned, leave it in the pan and reduce heat to medium-low. Immediately sprinkle half* of the diced chilies onto the tortilla. Cover with half* of the pear slices. Place half* of the Camembert strips over the pears. Top with half* of the cilantro, then cover with second tortilla. Cover the pan with the lid and cook for 2 minutes.

4. . Flip the quesadilla with a spatula, re-cover the pan and continue cooking for 2 more minutes. (Don't worry if a bit of cheese escapes and begins to sizzle loudly.)

5. . Remove the quesadilla from the pan, let sit for 1 minute, then cut into 8 wedges (just like pizza).

6. . Fill a small bowl or teacup with the sour cream dip or yogurt and place it in the middle of the serving plate.

7. . Serve immediately (you may wait until the second batch is completed, but these are the best served directly out of the pan).

8. . Repeat the process for the remaining quesadilla(s).

le secret. . Use very ripe pears and ripe cheese. If the pears aren't ripe enough, saute them in butter over a medium heat for a few minutes.

the adventure club. . Go crazy and invent your own fillings (but if you use jack cheese and avocado, it doesn't quality for the Adventure Club).

garnish. . Top with sour cream dip and with a dash of lime zest.

alternatives. . 1) Pears may be replaced with fresh papaya, mango or canned pears. 2) Camembert cheese may be replaced with Brie or Gorgonzola.

notes. . 1) Flour tortillas are not a specialty food: they are available in all grocery stores. Sometimes they are hidden in the refrigerated or frozen food sections. 2) All varieties of pears work in this recipe.

guest assignment. . Pear peeler and slicer

hints for advance prep. . 1) All of the slicing and dicing may be done several hours ahead of time. Keep prepped ingredients refrigerated. 2) If you slice the pears ahead of time, squeeze the juice of 1 lime or lemon over them to preserve their color.

cooking apparatus. . A 10-inch saute pan.

serving apparatus. . A large colorful Fiesta-style serving plate and cocktail napkins.

prep time. . Fifteen minutes.

cooking time. . Twenty minutes.

* For portions of 12, use one fourth of the ingredients for each quesadilla

** Double for 12 servings

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