Pecan Wood-smoked Shrimp Quesadillas
This is what happens when a creative chef introduces Southwest flavors and Italian ingredients to shrimp. The smoked shrimp are combined with goat cheese and sun-dried tomatoes in crisp, grilled quesadillas.
- Shrimp - 12, large, peeled
- Pepper - 1/2 teaspoon
- Salt - 1/2 teaspoon
- Cayenne Pepper - 1/4 teaspoon
- Goat Cheese - 6 tablespoons
- Flour Tortillas - 6
- Poblano Chili - 3 tablespoons roasted, diced
- Sun-Dried Tomato - 3 tablespoon minced
- Cilantro and Italian parsley - 2 tablespoons, fresh, mixed
- Mozzarella - 6 tablespoons, shredded
- Juice of 1 lemon - 1 lemon
- Cool Water - 1 cup
- Avocados - 2
- Flat-leaf Parsley - 3 pieces
- Mixed green and purple basil - 6 pieces
- Red Bell Pepper - 1, roasted, seeded, deribbed, and cut into narrow strips
- Extra-Virgin Olive Oil - 1 tablespoon
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Salsa - 1-1/2 cups
To smoke the shrimp: Place 1 tablespoon dry pecan wood chips in a stove top smoker. Place a rack in the smoker. Add the shrimp. Cover the smoker and smoke over medium heat for 10 minutes. The shrimp may be smoked outdoors on a barbecue grill: soak the pecan wood chips for 15 minutes and light a fire in the grill, letting the coals burn until covered with white ash. Push the coals to one side and place the soaked chips on top of the coals. Put the grill in place and put the shrimp on the grill on the side away from the direct heat of the fire. Cover and smoke as above.
To make the quesadillas: Blend the pepper, salt, and cayenne into the goat cheese and spread 1 tablespoon on each tortilla. Sprinkle diced chili, 2 shrimp, minced dried tomatoes, and minced herbs over half of each tortilla. Top with 1 tablespoon mozzarella and fold in half. Repeat to fill all tortillas.
Grill the tortillas on a griddle until the inside is hot and the outside is lightly browned and crisp, about 1 to 2 minutes on each side.
Mix the water and lemon juice. Peel the avocados and remove the pits. Cut into thin slices, dipping the slices in the lemon-water as you work to prevent browning. Tear the basil sprigs and parsley in half. Toss the greens with the olive oil.
To serve: Cut each quesadilla into three wedges. Place three on each serving plate. Fan avocado slices on each plate and top with a mound of salsa. Garnish with mixed greens, and pepper strips. Season with salt and pepper.