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Montrachet and Walnut Quesadillas with Apple, Fig, and Date Salsa

Mary Anne here. At Feast on the Cheap, we’ve written our fair share about enjoying breakfast for dinner. And Mariel realized recently that when I broke out the pancake batter for our night-time repast when she was just a little girl, it was more an act of…ummm…laziness, rather than altruistic, motherly benevolence. Busted by my brood, once again!

But what I haven’t shared is my own mom’s penchant for dishing up leftover desserts for breakfast! Now that was a real sweet treat when my sibs and I were tiny tots, and borne not out of slothfulness, but Mom’s own childhood southern traditions, as well as her gi-normous sweet tooth! This past week I’ve been craving Mom’s Apple Pie, but as my bathroom scale tipped in the wrong direction, I couldn’t find a single justification for baking a big old pie just for not-so-little-old me. And so…ta-da! A dessert for dinner was born – my very own whimsical spin on apple pie with a south of the border twang!

Apple Pie spiced with cinnamon, and ginger and then topped with a wedge of sharp cheddar is the quintessential culinary American classic. To create a dinner-worthy alternative, my apple salsa is comprised of many of the pie’s components.  I expanded on the flavor and texture by adding sweet, chewy dates and dried figs to the tart, crisp apples. I wanted a mild cheese for the actual quesadilla, (although I suspect cheddar has its place here) and opted for melted montrachet topped with crunchy, chopped walnuts. My combo unquestionably takes Mom’s Apple Pie to a whole new level and now you too can have dessert for dinner. Ole!

Montrachet and Walnut Quesadillas with Apple, Fig, and Date Salsa
Makes 6

Note: This doubles as an appetizer when the wedges are cut into eighths instead of quarters.
Tip: Set the oven rack in the middle, so that the quesadillas remain soft on the bottom.

Ingredients:
For the salsa:
2 small Granny Smith or northern Spy apples, diced – $1.04
1 cup dried Mission figs, diced – $2.99
8 fresh Medjouldates, pitted and diced – $2.29
3 Tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped – $0.99
½ Teaspoon ground cinnamon – stock
¼ Teaspoon ground nutmeg – stock
3 Tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice – stock
1 Tablespoon honey – stock
For the Quesadillas:
12 medium wholewheat tortillas (about 6” in diameter) – $2.89
½ lb. Montrachet cheeses, softened at room temperature – $6.99
1¼ cups chopped walnuts – stock
Grand Total Assuming Well-Stocked Pantry: $17.89
Total Per Serving: $2.98

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Line your largest cookie sheet (or prepare in 2 batches) with tin foil. Spray or lightly oil the foil and set aside.

2. Using a medium-size mixing bowl, combine the salsa ingredients, stirring well to combine. Set aside.

3. Place half of the tortillas on the prepared cookie sheet(s). Divide the Montrachet cheese between the tortillas, spreading evenly to about ½ inch from the edges.

4. Sprinkle the walnuts over the cheese. Top with the remaining tortillas. Cover with tin foil and bake for 10 minutes until the cheese is melted.

5. Transfer to a cutting board and cut into wedges. Scoop salsa over the wedges.