It’s pretty, but I’ve never wanted to waste the precious real estate of my Thanksgiving plate on it. Until today, my only use for fresh cranberries was decorative.
Pour them into a bowl or vase? Sure!
Pour them down my gullet? Hell, no!
But then I saw this recipe for Mushroom Quesadillas with Cranberry-Pecan Salsa.
Cranberry salsa! It’s a tiny revelation, like tasting strawberries with balsamic vinegar for the first time. Sweet, sour, fruity and crunchy. A perfect foil for the blast of umami that is the mushroom filling – wild and commercial mushrooms sautéed with butter, chopped onion, minced garlic, Worcestershire sauce and white wine – as well as the richness of the Monterey jack and goat cheese swaddled in each tortilla.
So, why am I sharing this now instead of waiting for Meatless Monday? Because most Worcestershire sauces contain anchovies. So, if keeping the recipe vegetarian is important to you, check the label. If not, just use what you have. It’s behind the soy sauce.
Wild Mushroom and Goat Cheese Quesadillas with Cranberry-Pecan Salsa
Adapted from Rebecca Rather’s “The Pastry Queen Christmas”
Yield: 4 to 6 main-course servings or 24 appetizers
- 1/2 cup pecan halves
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- Grated zest and juice of 1 orange
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 2 cups fresh of thawed frozen cranberries
- 1 shallot, sliced
- 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced (optional)
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
- 1 1/2 pounds mixed wild and commercial mushrooms
- 1 pound button or cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2/3 cup dry white wine (or cider or apple juice)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
- Eight 8-inch flour tortillas
- 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Monterey jack cheese
- 3 cups (15 ounces) crumbled fresh goat cheese
STORAGE: Leftover salsa will keep for up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator.
- For the Salsa: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the pecans on a baking sheet, and toast them in the oven for about 7 minute, until you can smell them. Transfer them to a bowl, let them cool, and coarsely chop pecans.
- In a food processor, combine the vinegar, olive oil, sugar, mustard, orange zest, orange juice, salt and pepper. Process about 30 seconds. (Make sure you combine the vinaigrette before adding the fruit, or the mixture will look cloudy.) Add cranberries, shallot and jalapeño, and pulse until cranberries are coarsely chopped. Pour the salsa in a medium bowl, cover, and refrigerate until ready to serve. Stir in the pecans just prior to serving.
- In a large sauté pan, melt the butter over medium-high heat, add the onion and sauté for about 4 minutes, until translucent. Add the mushrooms, garlic and Worcestershire, and continue to cook for 5 minutes. Add the white wine and pepper, and cook until the liquid is absorbed, at least 5 minutes.
- While the mushrooms cook, coat a griddle or large skillet with cooking spray and heat over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium. Lay 2 tortillas on the griddle, and cover each with 1/4 cup of the Monterey jack. Spread about 1/3 cup the mushroom mixture on one half of each tortilla, and cover the mushroom mixture with a thin layer of crumbled goat cheese. Use a spatula to fold each tortilla in half, and cook until lightly brown and crisp on the bottom. Flip and cook until brown on the other side. Transfer to a plate in a warm oven. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.
- Cut each tortilla into 3 wedges, and serve warm or at room temperature, with the salsa on the side.