There is a season: Zucchini quesadillas for Taco Tuesday

  • Avocado-basil dipping sauce and pickled red cabbage add big flavor to zucchini quesadillas. Molly Parr

For the Gazette
Published: 6/27/2020 1:57:19 PM

It must have been back in late March when we declared every Tuesday and Saturday night to be Family Movie Night. I make dinner a little earlier than usual, and then we gather in the living room for a kid-appropriate movie.

Tuesdays are also Taco Tuesdays in our house, and our tacos have ranged from tofu spiced with adobo served with pineapple and pickled onion, to black bean and fresh avocado. Tonight, we took a page from our 5-year-old, the queen of the quesadilla, and made zucchini quesadillas with avocado basil sauce and pickled red cabbage.

The decision was based primarily on what was in this week’s CSA, which included lots of zucchini and a pile of basil. For the quesadillas, I sliced a zucchini in half lengthwise, and then into half moons about a quarter-inch thick. I cooked them down with a red onion in a little bit of olive oil in a skillet until it was not-quite-jammy, about 10 minutes.

Assemble your quesadillas in the pan you’re cooking them in. It will give the tortilla a head start, and it’s much easier than trying to slide a pre-made quesadilla into a hot skillet. I used 10-inch tortillas which I covered in some shredded cheddar, then the zucchini and onions, then more cheese and another tortilla. I fried them on both sides until they had browned in spots, about five minutes total, on a low-to-medium heat. (I used a cast-iron skillet, which takes a while to pre-heat.) One zucchini and red onion made two 10-inch quesadillas.

The quesadillas were good alone, but the finishing touches — the avocado-basil dipping sauce and the pickled cabbage — stole the show. They tasted great, and the contrasting purple and green looked so appealing on the plate.

When I buy avocados, I keep them on the counter until they ripen. If I don’t end up using them that day, I toss them into the refrigerator where they can live for at least another week. Red cabbage is something I tend to keep in the house for adding to green-leaf salads, making into cabbage salads, and for pickling. You’ll need an hour for the cabbage, or you can do a jar’s worth well in advance and keep in the fridge.

Avocado basil dipping sauce (an original!)

1 cup basil

1 small clove garlic

1 teaspoon white vinegar

3 tablespoons almond milk (feel free to substitute sour cream if not available)

½ an avocado

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and fresh black pepper to taste

Directions

Combine all ingredients, except the olive oil, in a blender. With the machine running on blend, pour in the olive oil. Season to taste with the kosher salt and pepper.

Easy Pickled cabbage from “Ultimate Nachos” by Lee Frank and Rachel Anderson

½ small head red cabbage, cored and shredded

1 cup sugar

1 cup white vinegar

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup water

Directions

In a medium saucepan, stir together the cabbage, sugar, vinegar, salt and water.

Bring to boil, cover, and simmer over medium heat for 1 hour.




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