Potato, Pea and Mint Quesadillas

Fear not, it is perfectly clear to me that Mexican food isn’t composed entirely of a long string of dips and side dishes, such as guacamole and refried beans. Indeed, how strange it would be to have a nation of perennial nibblers living among us. So, safe in the knowledge that there exists, on this planet, no colony of human sized rodents in possession of an immoral number of carrot sticks, I embarked upon the first “proper” dish of the ‘Frugal Does Mexican’ series.

Traditionally, a Mexican quesadilla is a corn tortilla filled with Oaxaca cheese, since the word for cheese in Spanish is ‘queso’. Of course, other regional ingredients can be added, but cheese is the most important. The American version of the quesadilla changes this tradition a little; they tend to use flour tortillas instead. Indeed, it seems as though my recipe is a fusion of Mexican ideas, American method and British springtime ingredients. There is one interesting tit-bit to be had regarding queso; cheese has only existed in Mexico for as long as Europeans have settled there, a process which began in 1519 with the arrival of Spanish conquistadors.

I’m glad you all like my photos; they really are a lot better. My only quibble is that this camera is too good for me and I don’t quite know how to use it properly, though I love how many settings one can change. Really and truly I could do with a macro lens, but such a thing will have to wait until my funds have replenished. At the moment I’m rather destitute… but I do have a delightful camera and an increasing array of bowls. What more could one want?

Potato, Pea and Mint Quesadillas

Serves 4

Ingredients:

• 4 small or 2-3 large tortillas

• 1 fairly large potato, around 250g

• A hearty glug of double cream

• 1 tbsp roughly chopped mint

• Just enough garden peas to make them ever-present

• A generous handful of mature cheddar cheese

• Salt and pepper

• Olive oil for frying

Method:

1. Peel, chop and boil the potato in salted water. When tender, drain and mash, before adding the cream, mint, peas and cheese. Season to taste.

2. Heat enough olive oil to cover the bottom of your frying pan and pop in the tortilla. When it starts to bubble turn it over and spread some of the filling onto one half. Turn the other half over to form a sandwich and cook on both sides until browned. Repeat this process for the rest of the tortillas, be sure not to fill them too much or it could get messy.

Cost: As long as one either makes or gets a good deal on the tortillas, this dish is very cheap indeed. All four of these quesadillas should set one back no more than 80p. That’s a damn fine price considering they make disgustingly perfect lunches.

88 thoughts on “Potato, Pea and Mint Quesadillas

  1. Heather

    I am loving this take on quesdillas…at first glance (from the first photo) I really thought they were pancakes – I just assumed until I read the whole post, that the British we confusing the quesadilla with a pancake :) Quesadillas are a at least once a week dinner for us, I am giving your version a go!

  2. Jo Blogs

    Oh YUMMMMMMMY! Mexico was our honeymoon destination and how funny, I’ve been remnisicing and wishing we were back there this week (probably fuelled by this heat wave we’re hang at the mo). I love this Anglo-Mexicano take on the quesadilla and I think Hungry Hubby will love it – so I will make it!

    And tip – either get the hard copy or kindle of Plate To Pixel by Helene Du Jardin. The best food photography book ever and it will walk you through exactly what your camera can do and teach you how to get the best piccies with whatever camera you have. I have to make do with my Panasonic Lumix crap and click until I actually become a doctor and can afford to splurge a week’s salary on a DSLR ;)

    1. frugalfeeding

      Awesome! Such a cool place to go. I want to go to the South of France or Tuscany. I hope you do make! I’ll definitely look into that book, thanks. I was using a Lumix up until a few days ago, they are good!

          1. frugalfeeding

            Haha, Daisy! Yes, I graduated in history less than a year ago and am going back to start my post-grad this October (funds willing). Thanks for being ever so flattering!

          2. baconbiscuit212

            Good for you, Frugal! Less than a year ago? What a tadpole to be such an accomplished cook ;-)

            Am finishing up my doctorate now, but I can remember that feeling of waiting for funding. It will happen. I know it.

  3. Jacqueline Raposo (@DustyBakerGal)

    Mmm, it’s raining in NYC and this looks like just the ticket for lunch. And as most of my days in England have been spent in the rain, a fitting combination of flavors.

    I’m on the opposite end with the lens – I ONLY have a macro. And my entire camera is manual with no light meter, so I’m learning the old-school way. Which is awesome and I highly recommend. Happy Thursday FF.

  4. Chica Andaluza

    Apart from loving your photos Frugal, I adore your style of writing and your measurements – “a hearty glug”, “just enough” and a “generous handful”…it all makes perfect sense to me! A lovely version of quesadillas, really like the way you have incorporated local ingredients.

    1. frugalfeeding

      Thanks, Tanya! It’s good to be a bit imprecise, it allows for a little personal input, which is what cooking is all about. Thanks! The mint was from about 6 feet away from where I’m sitting – very local.

  5. thegrubbyhen

    Wow! those look incredibly yummy. I love the idea of combining the classic pea and mint combo in a quesadilla, they’d make a yummy Sunday brunch! I think I know what i’ll be doing this weekend…

    1. frugalfeeding

      I shall check it out, though I’m not a big fan of recipes :D. I will need some inspiration eventually though – my Mexican knowledge isn’t very large. Thanks very much, Daisy!

      1. baconbiscuit212

        I know, Frugal. I didn’t recommend them for the recipes. Bayless give a good overview of Mexico of the different climates in Mexico by region. And Kennedy writes more like Elizabeth David, so more like a narrative about Mexican food (with some recipes).

        1. frugalfeeding

          Thanks for putting up with me :). I will, definitely check the writing out and will gather a few ideas – I don’t really know any chefs because I’ve never been into recipes etc, etc – so this will be very helpful! :)

          1. baconbiscuit212

            Oh, I consider Kennedy more of an authority, or a historian. And part of documenting the history of a cuisine is to include recipes. She’s British too, so I think that her writing style will be appealing in a way Bayless’s might not be (he is a chef).

            Mexico is such a diverse country with tropical regions, and arid regions. The sea and the desert. Everything in-between. I always feel really ignorant when thinking about Mexican cuisine. It gets such a bad reputation because of Tex-Mex food (most restaurants here and abroad). But it really is pretty complex. Kind of like how 10 years ago, everyone thought Chinese food was the same. Now they are recognizing that there is Shanghainese, Catonese, Yunnanese, Sichuan, etc. And they are all different.

            It never hurts to be more informed, in any case.

          2. frugalfeeding

            now that’s a reply and a half! Well, I do have an affinity with historians being one myself :). I’ll definitely read up on it all and explore some of the lesser known dishes – just you wait! Thanks for being so helpful, Daisy! :D

  6. Margarita

    In my Harlem (NY) neighborhood, corn tortillas are very inexpensive. Potatoes, peas, and cheese are favorites of my vegetarian husband…what a great combination! I’ll certainly be trying this…Thanks!

  7. danyandy

    This post brings me back to a childhood memory. Having grown up in a big mexican family… my mom had to be frugal and make fantastic, made from scratch meals. When my mom would make a big batch of mashed potatoes, the next day we would have mashed potato tacos.. yup fried mashed potato tacos. Just like Americans can eat anything between 2 pieces of bread ( a sandwich), we mexicans can wrap anything in a tortilla and enjoy it like its a gourmet meal. I like your twist on quesadilla and I like how you made it a little fancy with the mint ;).

  8. unoscoiattoloindispensa

    i honestly don’t know the first thing about Mexican cuisine, but these look good! and I like the fusion with American and British traditions.
    And I love how your recipes are… well, frugal! after all, I am a student on tiny budget! :-)

  9. tanyamhudson

    How yummy! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a quesadilla with these ingredients, but it sounds fantastic. And your ingredient combination reminds me of the samosas that one of my Indian friends likes to make, filled with potatoes and peas and dipped in mint chutney. :)

  10. Cara

    You are ruining my love for mexican food with all the history jargon. Although, “Frugal does Mexican” is making up for it and putting a smile on my face. In all seriousness though (have to first be a jerk, then compliment–keeps you coming back for more), these look unbelievable. I am a big fan of that extra crispy brown on my quesadillas so, in my opinion (which is the only opinion that counts), you made these perfectly!

  11. Viridiana

    The pictures are amazing and the food looks great, although not a mexican dish, I have never seen such dish in Mexico considering that I am originally from there. However, a very neat idea and smart mix of ingredients to create a new dish. Quesadillas are largely made of the everyday dishes we would eat for dinner by the street vendors with some cheese. Also in some parts of the country quesadillas are exclusively corn or wheat tortillas with cheese. Your food looks delicious and it made me want to try and make my own.

  12. accordingtocarey

    My family owns a Mexican restaurant here in Northern California (USA) so I can speak for my people that putting potatoes in Mexican dishes in not altogether uncommon, especially regionally. The peas & mint is an interesting fusion of worlds but in the most delicious way!

  13. Karista

    A delightful read and delicious recipe! Oh, and a fabulous picture. Your doing great with your new camera… Makes me want to eat the mint, pea and potato quesadilla right out of the picture. :)

  14. Sharrow Vale Kate

    This looks so very delicious – might have to be for tea tonight…I’ve started growing mint and become obsessed with it. To save me heading to the shop, do you think creme fraiche would be OK instead of cream? Thanks!

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