The classic Mexican quesadilla features a corn tortilla made on a comal, or griddle, then topped with cheese and folded over into a melty half-moon. The American version is more like a sandwich: two flour tortillas stuffed with cheese, flipped in a pan to crisp both sides. Tonight’s steak-and-cheese quesadillas are oven-baked to avoid the messy flip, and finished with juicy poblano salsa and an Argentinian herb sauce.
¼ ounce cilantro
¼ ounce parsley
½ pint grape tomatoes
1 clove garlic
1 poblano chile
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 packet Cholula hot sauce
4 flour tortillas
4 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese
2 ounces Monterey Jack cheese
¼ cup + 1 tablespoon olive oil
10″ medium pan
blender or food processor (optional)
Argentinian condiment chimichurri features herbs, olive oil, vinegar, and garlic blended into a super-smooth sauce. No blender? Finely chop the cilantro and parsley leaves to ensure it’s as smooth as possible.
Cutting meat against the grain ensures tenderness. Find the direction of the grain (muscle fibers) and slice across it, rather than parallel.
Preheat oven to 450ºF. Rinse all produce. Pick cilantro and parsley leaves, discarding stems (see Recipe Tip). Halve tomatoes. Mince garlic. Halve poblano lengthwise, discarding seeds, then cut into .25-inch dice (as with all chile peppers, avoid touching the inside, and immediately wash your knife, cutting board, and hands afterward).
Pat steaks dry with paper towel and season all over with .5 teaspoon salt and pepper as desired. Heat .5 tablespoon olive oil in a medium pan over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add steaks and sear until browned and medium rare, 3-5 minutes per side. Transfer steaks to a plate, reserving pan for cooking salsa, and set aside to rest for about 5 minutes.
While steaks rest, in a blender or food processor, combine red wine vinegar, Cholula, cilantro, parsley, garlic, and 3 tablespoons olive oil. Blend until smooth. Alternatively, if you’re not using a blender, finely chop herbs and place in a medium bowl, then whisk in remaining ingredients to combine. Season with .25 teaspoon salt and pepper as desired, then set aside.
Cut rested steaks against the grain into .25-inch slices (see Recipe Tip). Drizzle 2 teaspoons olive oil on a baking sheet and add 2 tortillas, side by side. Layer each with .25 of cheese blend, half of sliced steak, and 1 teaspoon chimichurri. Finish with remaining cheese and remaining tortillas. Brush tops of quesadillas with 1 teaspoon olive oil each. Bake until golden and melty, 5-7 minutes. Set aside.
While quesadillas bake, rinse pan from steaks and wipe clean; alternatively, grab a separate medium pan. Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in pan over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add poblano and cook, stirring, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and season with .5 teaspoon salt and pepper as desired. Cook until vegetables are very soft, about 3 minutes more. Remove pan from heat.
Using a thin spatula, carefully loosen quesadillas from baking sheet and transfer to a cutting board. Cut each into quarters. Divide seared steak quesadillas between plates and spoon over poblano salsa. Drizzle over a spoonful of chimichurri, and serve remainder alongside for dipping. Enjoy!