Originally created 01/20/99

Veggie quesadillas a great game day treats



"These quesadillas are such irresistible morsels that you may find yourself cooking up extra potatoes for dinner some night solely for the purpose of making them," writes Ashley Miller in The Potato Harvest Cookbook (Taunton Press, $19.95).The book features loads of potato lore as well as 70 or so recipes, including old and new favorites from many national cuisines. It is well-designed and brightly illustrated with color photographs.

The quesadillas, cut into small wedges, are tempting appetizers that would fit in well with Super Bowl or other entertaining. "Cut into quarters, they make rewarding snacks and are a great comfort food," Ms. Miller says. She points out that they can be made ahead of time and reheated, or assembled in advance and baked when needed.

Potato and Roasted Red Pepper Quesadillas

2 medium potatoes

1 medium red bell pepper

1 large jalapeno chile

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1 small onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon lime juice or red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon minced cilantro

1/2 cup cubed sharp Cheddar cheese

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Four 6-inch flour tortillas

Boil or steam the potatoes 35 minutes, or until tender. Allow them to cool, then peel and cut them into eighths.

Cut the bell and chile peppers in half vertically and remove the stems, seeds and membranes. Slit each end so the peppers will lie as flat as possible, then place the halves skin side up on a broiler rack and position the rack close to the broiler. Broil the peppers until the skins are evenly charred and the flesh is tender, about 10 minutes. Remove, place the peppers in a paper bag or covered container, and seal. Set aside 15 minutes to steam and cool. (This makes the peppers easier to peel.) With a paring knife, pull off and discard the charred skin, then dice the peppers.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Heat the oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic and potatoes, and saute until the onions and potatoes are lightly browned. Transfer to a bowl and mash briefly. Add the peppers, lime juice, cilantro and cheese. Season with salt and pepper, and mix well.

Place 2 tortillas on an ungreased baking sheet. Place one-half of the potato mixture on each, and with a spatula, pat firmly to within 1/2 inch of the tortilla edge. Cover each tortilla with a second one and press firmly in place. Bake 5 minutes on each side. Cut each tortilla stack into 6 wedges and serve hot.

Makes 12 wedges, 4 to 6 servings.

Cook's Note: Instead of roasting a fresh red bell pepper, you could substitute one-half of a 7-ounce jar of roasted red peppers, drained.