THE SHORT LIFE STORY OF A QUESADILLA IN NOCHIXTLAN, OAXACA...
There is a quesadilla stand just outside the main market in Nochixtlan in Oaxaca State, about an hour north of the superhighway out of Oaxaca. IF you can get on the superhighway. Parts were washed out during the last recent rains and yesterday we had to go on the old road, which was the main road for many years. Pleasant change. Felt like we were actually in Mexico.
So, it was about lunchtime. It's usually about lunchtime in Nochixtlan. And my favorite quesadilla lady, the mother in the family, was there, serving up her delights. Truth be told, I'm a bit of a tortilla snob, having cut my tortilla teeth in El Salvador years ago in the campo, always awakening to the sound of 'slap, slap, slap.' Here it's 'squeak, squeak, squeak' as the hinged metal tortilla press slams shut on the circular ball of dough, creating a perfect circle, of even diameter and enviable even thickness. Pure corn roundness about 12" in diameter.
After this modern approach to tortilla making, the insides are generously arranged. I asked for the 'works,' which here means a glorious array of sauteed mushrooms, fresh squash blossoms and that amazing string cheese that Oaxaca is known for. Maybe even invented.
The dough is then folded over in half, dampened around the outer inside edges, and crimped. Remember Grandma's pie crusts....like that. And then carefully put onto the comal heated atop the little habachi-like brazier to cook on each side...maybe three minutes per side. Served with an apple fizzy bottled drink (Manzanita) and some hot sauce....I passed on the latter, not because I don't like it hot (okay, okay....), but because the contents were a trifle murkey. And you know what THAT can mean in Mexico
I gobbled up the first one, and then Susana Trilling (Director and Founder, Seasons of my Heart Cooking School in Oaxaca) and I shared another. Bet you can't eat just one.
Best $2.75 lunch around.....
After lunch, Susana and I headed further north, in search of more authentic, Mixteca food delights from regional sustainable farms....our new joint project. (and it
s a good one....watch for further updates.....)