Stellar Ingredient: Herbs

Yesterday, for Father’s Day, I had the master plan to prepare my Couscous Salad with a Mexican Twist, one of my husband’s favourites.  Unfortunately, when I went to the backyard, I did not find any cilantro, which gives this salad a great part of its Mexican taste.  I think the weather transitioned from cold to hot too abruptly for cilantro to thrive this spring.  I harvested some strawberries and scallions, and then noticed that the swiss chard and epazote seedlings had  grown enough that I could harvest a few leaves of each. Epazote (Dysphania ambrosioides, photo above) is a traditional Mexican and Central American herb, known as wormseed in English.  I bought a seed packet from West Coast Seeds a few years ago, spread some in a sunny patch, and I have had them self-seed and come back every late May ever since.  There are so many Mexican dishes that call for epazote (almost as many as the ones calling for cilantro), that I realized just how stellar herbs can be in defining a dish.  I ended up making swiss chard quesadillas, and wrote down cilantro on my shopping list, to make a belated Father’s Day Couscous Salad hopefully tonight.  For more on how to grow epazote, visit my From Seed to Table page and scroll down to the herbs files; I also noticed that my couscous salad post does not have a printable recipe, so I am including it here.

Printable recipe: Couscous salad with a Mexican Twist

Swiss Chard Quesadillas – Quesadillas de Acelga

Printable recipe: Swiss Chard Quesadillas

Ingredients

8 corn tortillas
1 tbsp vegetable oil + a bit for the iron skillet
1 bunch baby swiss chard
1 bunch epazote
½ white onion
1 jalapeño pepper (or 2 serrano peppers)
½ lb sliced Mexican Manchego, Oaxaca, or Chihuahua cheese (Monterey Jack, Mozzarella or Havarti will work, as well)

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Remove stems from swiss chard, and chop tops and stems separately; remove stems from epazote and discard, slice leaves into ribbons; peel and chop onions; remove and discard stem and seeds from pepper, chop.  In a frying pan, warm up oil over medium heat. Add vegetables in order, stirring in between: onions, swiss chard stems and jalapeños. When onions are translucent, season with a pinch of salt, then incorporate swiss chard and epazote leaves, cooking for just a few more seconds until the greens wilt (do not overcook):

20180612_011511 (6)_LIMeanwhile, warm up tortillas as directed in the package (I microwaved them on a plate for 45 seconds), and warm up a slightly greased iron skillet.  When veggies are ready, scoop some into each tortilla an top with about 1 oz. of cheese before folding in half:

 

 

 

Pan fry in batches in the hot iron skillet, just until the cheese melts and serve immediately:

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