Mexico - One Plate at a Time with Rick Bayless

The Case for Quesadillas

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What could be better than a freshly made, gooey, warm quesadilla? Rick answers the question by showing us how to make the flour tortillas from scratch. What could be better than that? Well, actually, in Mexico, Rick explains, quesadillas and flour tortillas have nothing to do with each other. He takes us to the Bazar Sabado, a charming colonial-style labyrinth of handicrafts shops in the heart of Mexico City's bohemian Coyoacan district, to experience the true art of the quesadilla. In the Bazar's shady courtyard, the delicate treats are made the traditional way from freshly ground corn masa, patted onto a massive cast-iron griddle, topped with cheese and fillings and baked to a golden finish. For a more rough-and-tumble look at the same idea, we visit Lagunilla, the city's fantastical flea-market, where vendors turn out all kinds of mouthwatering quesadillas and other toasted-masa snacks on a griddle over a charcoal fire. Then it's on to Paxia, a stunning fine-dining restaurant, where Rick shows us one more style of quesadilla, a cheese-filled pocket of masa that's deep-fried to make a golden turnover. At Paxia, they serve a miniature version of these as an amuse bouche. Across town at La Merced market, Rick checks out the classic cheeses for quesadilla-making, and picks up some requeson, the Mexican version of ricotta. It's a fresh cheese and fresh cheeses are easy to prepare as Rick shows us by making Mexican Fresh Cheese in his Chicago kitchen. Then, he turns it into Luxurious Rustic Griddle-Baked Quesadillas for a romantic date-night dinner with his wife, Deann.
 

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