Unlike some famous celebrities with a knife fetish I have a chopping fetish. I love to chop vegetables. I find it soothing, rewarding and meditative. It’s not that I’m a meticulous cook – far from it – but I love the sensation of cutting vegetables, herbs, whatever. I’ve only recently recognized this consciously but looking back over the years it’s clear that my go-to items for a quick meal generally involve some knife work.
Case in point is pico de gallo with cheese quesadillas. Dicing up some roma tomatoes, green onions, garlic and some cilantro if I had it was the perfect study break when I was in grad school. Frying up some quesadillas literally took about 3 minutes and then I would have a satisfying, kind of healthy, quick meal.
Pico de gallo is the same as salsa fresca, meaning fresh salsa. I used to simply refer to it as salsa until someone educated me about the fact that salsa is always cooked, which is party of the reason it is so saucy as opposed to the chunky version I whipped up in the kitchen. I love the freshness of tomato with some garlic and a squeeze of lemon or lime juice. You can also add minced hot chilies or jalapeno, which I do when I have it. Otherwise, it’s like a tomato salad in your mouth with the quesadilla as the willing vehicle!
Pico de Gallo
6 roma tomatoes (or 4 regular size tomatoes) diced
2 green onions, chopped, green and white parts OR red onion diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 jalapeno, deseeded for less heat, minced
1 tablespoons cilantro, minced
juice from half lemon
Combine all in bowl and mix well. Pico de gallo is best eaten within 24 hours of preparation but allowing a few hours for the flavors to marry enhances the flavors.
4 flour tortillas
1 cup cheese (any combination cheddar, monterey jack, mozzarella) shredded
Evenly distribute the cheese between two tortillas leaving at least 1/2 inch border. Cover each with another tortillas. Heat a large skillet over medium heat (if it isn’t nonstick, add about teaspoon olive oil per quesadilla). Cook quesadillas over low heat until they begin to brown, flip and cook other side. If they puff up, just gently push down. Remove from heat and cut into quarters or eighths and serve with pico de gallo.