Ok. I know salmon and quesadilla aren’t normally two words you would find together in the same sentence.
I get it. It’s strange. It’s something….different.
I had a vision, an intriguing vision, and I had to go for it. There’s fish tacos and shrimp quesadillas in this world, so why can’t there be salmon quesadillas, too?
My experiment proved fruitful. First, I started with a decent-sized filet of Alaskan sockeye salmon. Sockeye isn’t the most flavorful salmon around, but you can’t really be picky when it comes to seafood while living smack dab in the middle of the country.
Next step: find a cheese that is both Mexican flavored and works well with seafood. That’s a tough one, considering seafood and cheese don’t typically go together. Normal cheddar was out. Four cheese Mexican blends would’ve been a miss, too.
Nutty, swiss cheeses—which tend to work well with seafood—wouldn’t have gone with the jalapeno and onion. I asked around and settled on a plain ol’ white Monterrey Jack cheese.
Monterey Jack melts well, too, so I killed three birds with one stone. You need a good melty cheese for the extreme quick cooking of a quesadilla. Monterey Jack was the winner!
Flour tortillas were topped with the shredded cheese and then I piled on the salmon & veggie mixture. I added more cheese (remember: in a quesadilla, cheese is basically the glue that holds the tortillas together) and then threw it into a greased skillet. After a quick browning on both sides, I immediately cut my quesadilla (pro-tip: use a pizza cutter) and then sat down to eat it.
But wait! There’s more…
My intriguing mission to create something new wasn’t over. You can’t have a quesadilla without two key dipping sauces: sour cream & salsa.
I couldn’t use a regular tomato based salsa with the salmon. That was too boring and acidic for my specialty quesadillas. Instead, I thought a pico made with green apples and dill would work better. Less Mexican style, more fresh fish style.
I diced up a green apple and used the rest of my white onion and jalapeno. A little squirt of lemon juice plus some fresh dill and…..something was missing. The pico wasn’t on fleek as the cool kids would say. It needed something else.
Scouring my fridge, I spotted a couple of avocados. Perfect! Guacamole and quesadillas go together like peanut butter and jelly. They’re the perfect match. Instead of making a guac, though, I diced up an avocado and tossed it into the pico. After taking another bite, I knew it was golden. And spooning it over the quesadilla slices? Perfection.
Salmon Quesadillas with Apple Pico de Gallo
- 1 lb. salmon filet
- 1 tsp. chili-lime seasoning
- 2 TBS. olive oil
- 8 tortillas
- 8 oz. Monterey Jack cheese
- Cooking spray
- 1 white onion, diced
- 2 jalapenos, diced
- 1 avocado, diced
- 1 green apple, cored and diced
- Juice of 1/2 a lemon
- 1 tsp. dried dill
- Sour cream, for serving
- Season salmon filet with chili-lime seasoning. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add salmon and pan fry, flipping once, until fish flakes easily with a fork (about 4-5 minutes). Transfer to a plate and flake fish off of skin with a fork, placing meat into a bowl.
- Meanwhile, in same skillet, heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat. Add half of the diced onion, and one diced jalapeno. Saute until tender and onion is translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add onion mixture to salmon bowl.
- Build the quesadillas: start with one tortilla, sprinkle about 1/4 cup of cheese on tortilla, leaving about 1/4″ free around the edges. Sprinkle about 2 tablespoons of the salmon mixture on top, and then add a pinch of more cheese on top of that.
- Spray cooking spray in large skillet and heat to medium heat. Add quesadilla to the skillet and top with another tortilla. Heat quesadilla until cheese is melted, about 2 minutes, and then flip. Tortilla should be browned on bottom. Cook for another two minutes until crisp. Transfer to a plate and cute into slices immediately.
- Make the pico de gallo: In a large bowl, combine apple, avocado and remaining diced onion, and one diced jalapeno. Stir in lemon juice and dill and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Serve with quesadillas and sour cream.
Season salmon with chili-lime seasoning.
In large skillet, heat one tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Add salmon and cook for 5-6 minutes, flipping once, until fish flakes easily with a fork. Transfer to a plate and flake meat off into a bowl.
Heat remaining tablespoon of oil in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of the diced onions and one diced jalapeno. Saute until tender and onion is translucent, about 4-5 minutes.
Stir cooked onion mixture into bowl of cooked salmon. Set aside while preparing quesadillas.
Build the quesadillas: start with a flour tortilla, top with approximately 1/4 cup shredded cheese, keeping 1/4″ clear away from the edge of the tortilla. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of salmon mixture on top of the cheese, then add a pinch of cheese to the top.
Spray cooking spray into a large skillet and heat over medium heat. Add quesadilla and top with another flour tortilla. Cook until cheese is melted, about 2 minutes, and then flip. Quesadilla should be browned. Cook another 2 minutes until quesadilla is crispy and browned. Transfer to a plate and cut into slices immediately.
Make the pico de gallo: In a large bowl, combine apple, avocado, remaining diced onion and one diced jalapeno. Stir in lemon juice and dill. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Serve salmon quesadillas with pico de gallo and sour cream. Makes approximately 4 quesadillas.