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An ideal choice for a special lunch or cocktail party appetizer, this dish comes together quickly and looks lovely on the table.

Chicken Quesadilla with Salsa Verde

  • Serving Size: Serves 4
  • Prep Time: Less than 30 Minutes
  • Cook Time: Less than 30 Minutes
  • Level: Beginner
  • Course: Appetizer
Ingredient Description:
For the salsa verde:
vegetable oil for the grill

2 - 3 jalapeño or serrano chilies, stemmed

1/2 lb. tomatillos, husked, washed and cut into chunks

1 c. cilantro leaves

2 scallions, cut into 2-in. pieces

1 clove garlic

juice of 1 lime

2 Tbsp. water

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

For the quesadillas:
4 8-in. soft flour tortillas

1/2 c. queso fresco or Monterey Jack cheese, coarsely grated

1/2 c. Colby cheese, coarsely grated

2 grilled or roasted chicken breasts, sliced

1 large tomato, sliced

6 large sprigs cilantro, plus extra for garnish

1 recipe Salsa Verde

vegetable oil for the grill

Preheat the panini grill pan over medium heat for 3 - 4 minutes.  Brush the grill with oil and pan roast the chilies for 2 - 3 minutes or until they are charred.  Remove from the heat.  Seed chilies, if desired, and chop coarsely.

Combine the chilies and the remaining salsa verde ingredients in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade.  Process the mixture until puréed.

Place 2 tortillas on a work surface.  Divide the queso fresco and colby cheeses evenly between the tortillas.  Layer the chicken on top of the cheese, followed by the tomato slices, cilantro, 3 - 4 Tbsp. salsa verde and the remaining 2 tortillas.

Press the quesadillas firmly together.  Brush one side of one quesadilla with oil.

Preheat a panini grill pan over medium heat for 3 - 4 minutes.  Place one quesadilla, oiled side down on the hot pan.  Place the panini press on top of the quesadilla and cook for 1- 2 minutes, or until golden and crispy. 

Brush the top side of the tortilla with oil and carefully flip it over.  Cover with the panini press and cook the reverse sides for 1 - 2 minutes. 

Transfer the quesadilla to a cutting board and keep warm while the second quesadilla is cooking.

Repeat the process with the remaining quesadilla.  Use a sharp chef's knife to cut each quesadilla into quarters and serve while hot.  Serve with salsa verde.