Turkey Quesadillas with Equadorian Peanut Salsa


If you have family in the house over the long weekend, and have some leftover turkey, this is a unique way to use it up.

I clipped this this recipe from Food & Wine in 2000, it was created by Marciel Presilla founding chef of Zafra in New Jersey.  She serves this over potatoes, with shrimp and with chicken. I made a few adaptations and it is perfect for leftover turkey quesadillas.

The milk and peanuts give this salsa a wonderful texture. If you don’t have a can of chipotle peppers, use a small jalapeno. This salsa is not supposed to be spicy but I like it that way. Try using a smoked cheese like Gouda or a nice cheddar like Dubliner from Kerrygold.

Ecuadorian Peanut Salsa

1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp. achiote (aka annatto) paprika can be substituted
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1/4 tsp. cumin
2/3 cup roasted peanuts
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup chopped scallions
2 tsp. minced garlic
2 tsp. adobo from canned chipotle chilies
Salt & pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a small skillet. Sprinkle in the achiote or paprika and bring to a slow simmer. Remove from heat and pour into a glass measuring cup. Allow the spice to drop to the bottom. In a large skillet, pour the spice oil (leaving as much of the powder behind as possible) and heat. Add the onions and saute until translucent.

Add the peanuts, milk and cumin and stir well. Turn off heat. Add the cilantro. Place the salsa into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until slightly chunky. Add the minced garlic and pulse again. Add the adobo or minced jalapenos and pusle once more. Remove to a bowl and stir in the scallions and season with salt and pepper.

I spread a portion of this inside a whole wheat tortilla, layered on shredded turkey and slices of cheese.  Then I heated the quesadilla over a low heat in my cast iron skillet.

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