THE CHEF: GONZALO GUZMÁN
His Restaurants:Nopalito, two locations in San Francisco
What He’s Known For: Real-deal regional-Mexican cooking that makes the most of San Francisco’s market produce.
Ten years ago, when
opened Nopalito in San Francisco, he frequently came up against a narrow notion of what Mexican food is: “Burritos and tacos,” he said. Maybe quesadillas too—though the version Mr. Guzmán offers here was designed to upend expectations.
Crisped corn tortillas sandwich sautéed shredded Brussels sprouts bound with gooey Oaxacan cheese and drizzled with chile oil—a smoky flavor-booster worth trying in other dishes too. Toasting the chiles before blending them into the oil concentrates the flavor and lends that irresistible hint of smoke. The chile oil brings such nuance and depth to the Brussels sprouts, the quesadilla filling even makes a satisfying side dish on its own.
Mr. Guzmán’s final Slow Food Fast contribution, this recipe reflects the style of cooking he’s become known for, matching traditional Mexican dishes with seasonal Bay Area produce. Like all the recipes in his cookbook, “Nopalito: A Mexican Kitchen,” it’s an invitation to explore his native cuisine in all its variety and complexity. “We wanted to teach people to respect Mexican cooking more,” said Mr. Guzmán. It’s hard to argue with evidence this delicious.
Brussels Sprouts Quesadillas With Chile Oil
Total Time: 25 minutes Serves: 4
- 6 dried cascabel or árbol chiles, stemmed and seeded
- 1 cup olive oil
- 1 clove garlic
- 1½ cups thinly sliced white onions
- 3 cups shredded Brussels sprout leaves
- Kosher salt
- 8 corn tortillas
- 1½ cups shredded Oaxacan or Monterey Jack cheese
- ¼ cup crumbled queso fresco
- Cilantro leaves, for garnish
1. Make chile oil: Set a large skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. Once hot, place chiles on griddle and toast on all sides until aromatic and charred in spots, about 5 minutes total.
2. In a blender or food processor, purée toasted chiles, ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil and garlic until smooth. Season with salt.
3. Set skillet over medium heat and swirl in ¼ cup plain olive oil. Add onions and cook until translucent, 4 minutes. Add sprouts and sauté until slightly browned, 5 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in 4 tablespoons chile oil. Taste and add chile oil and salt as needed.
4. Set large skillet over medium heat and brush with remaining plain olive oil. Arrange 4 tortillas in skillet, making sure they don’t overlap. Sprinkle shredded cheese over tortillas and spread ⅓ cup sautéed Brussels sprouts over each. Top with remaining tortillas and press down with a spatula. Cook until cheese melts, 2-3 minutes, then flip and cook reverse side until browned in spots, about 2 minutes. Flip again and cook so both sides are crisp.
5. Transfer quesadillas to 4 plates. Garnish with queso fresco and cilantro. Drizzle any remaining chile oil over top, if desired.
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