[Photographs: J. Kenji López-Alt]
Swapping sweet potatoes for cheese in your go-to quesadilla recipe may sound wacky, or downright sacrilegious, but we’re here today to tell you three things:
- A) Nobody is taking away your cheese.
2) “To like” is not a zero-sum game. Liking one new thing doesn’t prevent you from liking everything you liked before, including, and perhaps especially, cheese.
D) Those of you who actually try this sweet potato quesadilla (or batatadilla, if you prefer) will be rewarded with deliciousness and deliciosity combined.
- 1 large sweet potato (about 12 ounces; 340g)
- Small handful minced fresh cilantro leaves (see note)
- 3 tablespoons (45g) minced pickled jalapeños (see note)
- 3 scallions, thinly sliced (see note)
- Kosher salt
- 4 to 6 (8-inch) flour tortillas
- Vegetable oil, as needed
Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C). Place sweet potato in an oven-safe vessel (such as a cast iron pan or a small baking dish) and roast until a knife or skewer inserted into its center meets no resistance, about 40 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Roasted sweet potato can be wrapped and stored in the refrigerator for several days before you continue with the recipe.
Peel and discard sweet potato skin and mash flesh with a fork in a medium bowl. Add cilantro, pickled jalapeños, and scallions (see note). Stir and fold to combine. Season to taste with salt.
Spread about 1/2 cup of the mixture evenly over half of 1 tortilla, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Fold tortilla over and seal edges by pressing down firmly. Repeat with remaining filling and as many tortillas as needed (about 4 to 6, depending on the exact size of the sweet potato).
Heat 2 tablespoons (30ml) oil in a large skillet or on a griddle over medium heat until shimmering. Carefully add 2 folded tortillas and cook, swirling and moving tortillas around, until golden brown and puffy on first side, about 2 minutes. Using a flexible metal spatula, flip quesadillas, season with salt, and continue cooking until golden brown and puffy on second side, about 2 minutes longer.
Transfer quesadillas to a paper towel to drain and repeat step 4 to cook remaining quesadillas. Serve immediately.
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