What’s your go-to brunch recipe? Mine is bagels and a smoked salmon platter. I never get tired of the combo of a well-toasted bagel with salty smoked salmon, creamy cream cheese and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. But…having said that, last weekend when I had out-of-town guests over for brunch, I tried something new – a variation on the salmon and cream cheese theme – smoked salmon quesadillas with goat cheese, basil and lemon.
The recipe comes from a fun cookbook called Radically Simple, by Rozanne Gold. It’s a very simple and straight forward recipe, as are most of the recipes in the cookbook. I made just a couple of minor tweaks – I upped the goat cheese to cream cheese ratio and I devised a preparation strategy that works well if you’re cooking for a large crowd.
For a small batch, assemble the quesadillas, brown each one on both sides, slice, and serve.
If you’re cooking for a large crowd and you don’t want to stand over the stove at the last minute, browning tortillas, here’s what I suggest. Brown all the tortillas ahead of time. Once they cool, add all the fixings, put them on baking trays, and popped them into a preheated oven to warm them just before serving.
When you take your first crisp bite, as you experience the mingling of minty basil, sharp lemony zest, tangy, creamy goat cheese and salty smoky salmon, it might just be love at first bite. It was for me!
- 8 flour tortillas (8-inch)
- 6 ounces goat cheese, from a log
- 4 ounces whipped cream cheese
- 8 ounces smoked salmon, sliced into 1-inch strips
- ½ cup slivered basil leaves, plus extra for sprinkling on top
- Zest of 1 large lemon
- Vegetable oil for sautéing
- Assemble Quesadillas Preheat oven to 225ºF. In a medium sized bowl stir cream cheese and goat cheese until thoroughly combined. Set 4 tortillas out on the counter. Spread each tortilla with ¼ of the goat cheese mixture. Evenly distribute the salmon slices, basil and lemon zest. Cover each with a second tortilla and press down gently.
- Cook Quesadillas Heat 2 teaspoons of oil over medium-high heat in a large cast iron or non-stick skillet. (for speed, work with two skillets) Place a quesadilla in the skillet and cook for about 2 minutes, until crisp and golden brown on the bottom. Flip quesadilla and brown on the other side. Transfer the quesadilla to a large baking sheet in the oven, to keep warm while you cook the remaining quesadillas. Slice quesadillas into quarters with a pizza cutter, and arrange on a platter.
- Optional garnish Sprinkle slivered basil over the quesadillas
- Note: if you're doubling or tripling the recipe, brown each tortilla on just one side. After a few minutes - when they cool, lay half of them out a flat surface, uncooked-side up. Spread the goat cheese mixture on the uncooked side and assemble the fillings on top. Cover with another tortilla, browned side up, pressing down gently. Place all the assembled quesadillas on baking trays and pop them in a 250F preheated oven for 10 minutes, just before serving.