Oh, my peeps, do I have a great recipe for you this week. I saw these beautiful Mexican guavas at the store and picked up a carton. I’m a big fan of guava and knew that I could do quite a few things with them.
First, I decided to make a puree and I would go from there. When I cut them open, I was surprised to find that they were white guavas rather than the pink ones that we most often think of. They’re delicious, just not as pretty. But that’s okay.
I also happened to have some queso fresco on hand, which I’d purchased for another recipe. Queso fresco—literally, “fresh cheese”—is like a feta cheese in flavor and texture, but it’s much milder, and it’s used frequently in Latin American cuisines. You can find it in Latin American markets, or supermarkets that have a decent cheese selection. If you can’t find it, any crumbly feta-like cheese will do.
Oh, and I also had blue corn tortillas. My decision was easy. I would make guava quesadillas. They require so few ingredients, yet guava quesadillas are so flavor-packed and really fun to eat. The sweetness of the guava is offset by the saltiness of the cheese, so you can actually have them as part of a meal, a snack, or dessert. And you can add whatever toppings you like: salsa, guacamole, hot sauce. It all works.
You will have guava puree left over, and I know exactly what you should do with that—make a guava cocktail. Well, that’s what I did. I’ll be sharing that recipe next week. In the meantime, here’s how to make guava quesadillas with fresh guavas. If you can’t get fresh guavas, or don’t want to make your own puree, skip that step. Get some guava paste and simmer it in a small pot with a little water to loosen it up (a good ration is 4 ounces paste with 1 tablespoon water). And you won’t need the maple syrup either. Make yourself a mojito or margarita and have yourself a fiesta.
1 lb. guavas, peeled and quartered
¼ cup maple syrup
4 (6-inch) tortillas
½ cup crumbled queso fresco
Optional toppings: Salsa, guacamole, hot sauce, cilantro
If you’re using your oven, preheat to 350 degrees F. (You can otherwise use a toaster oven or pan.)
Place the guavas, maple syrup, and ½ cup water in a small sauce pot. Bring it to a boil, then simmer on medium-low heat until the guavas are soft, about 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the guavas’ ripeness. Turn off the heat and let cool.
Transfer the guava to a mesh strainer set over a bowl and press them through the strainer with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Scoop any pulp that accumulates beneath the strainer. (You can use a food mill instead.) Blend the puree well.Discard the seeds that remain in the strainer.Toast 4 tortillas over a flame (either on your stovetop gas burner or a grill) until lightly browned in spots. Lay them on a baking sheet.Place equal amounts of the queso fresco, then 2 tablespoons of the guava on each one. Fold the tortillas over and press gently, just so they will stay closed.Place them in the oven or toaster oven and bake just until the cheese starts to melt. (You can also place them in a pan, preferably cast iron, and cook over a medium-high flame, covered, until the cheese melts.) Serve hot, by themselves or with optional toppings.
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