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Corn and Black Bean Quesadillas with Pepper Jack Cheese

For a quesadilla recipe that was authentic in spirit yet also quick enough to make a satisfying snack, we kept the tortillas crisp by lightly toasting them in a dry skillet and then filling them with cheese, lightly coating them with oil, and returning them to the skillet until they were well browned and the cheese was fully melted.

Not yet satisfied that our quesadilla recipe was speedy enough, we made the process even more convenient by switching to small 8-inch tortillas and folding them in half around the filling. This allowed us to cook two at a time in the same skillet, and the fold kept our generous cheese filling from oozing out.

Use a light hand when seasoning with kosher salt, as the cheese itself is rather salty. Cooling the quesadillas before cutting and serving is important; straight from the skillet, the cheese is molten and will ooze out.

Serve the quesadillas with salsa, guacamole, or sour cream. Finished quesadillas can be held on a baking sheet in a 200-degree oven for up to 20 minutes.

NOTE: You should make double of the filling for this recipe, and save it for another day.

1/3 cup frozen corn kernels , thawed
2 teaspoons vegetable oil , plus more for brushing tortillas
1/3 cup minced red onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/3 cup black beans (canned)
2 teaspoons lime juice
Kosher salt
2 plain flour tortillas , eight-inch
2/3 cup Pepper Jack cheese (3 ounces)
1 tablespoon minced pickled jalapeņos (optional)

1. Heat 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot, about 2 minutes. Add corn and cook, stirring occasionally, until kernels begin to brown and pop, 3 to 5 minutes; tranfer corn to medium bowl.

Heat 2 teaspoons vegetable oil in now-empty skillet over medium heat until shimmering; add red onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and chili powder and cook until fragrant, about 1 minutes; stir in beans and cook until heated through, about 1 minute.

Return corn to skillet and toss to combine; gently press mixture with spatula to lightly crush black beans. Transfer mixture to now-empty bowl, stir in lime juice, and season to taste with salt.

2. Wipe out skillet with paper towels and return pan to medium heat until hot, about 2 minutes. Place 1 tortilla in skillet and toast until soft and puffed slightly at edges, about 2 minutes.

Flip tortilla and toast until puffed and slightly browned, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Slip tortilla onto cutting board. Repeat to toast second tortilla while assembling first quesadilla.

Sprinkle 1/3 cup cheese, half the corn and bean mixture, and half of jalapeņos, if using, over half of tortilla, leaving 1/2-inch border around edge. Fold tortilla in half and press to flatten.

Brush surface generously with oil, sprinkle lightly with salt, and set aside. Repeat to form second quesadilla.

3. Place both quesadillas in skillet, oiled sides down; cook over medium heat until crisp and well browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Brush surfaces with oil and sprinkle lightly with salt.

Flip quesadillas and cook until second sides are crisp and browned, 1 to 2 minutes longer.

Transfer quesadillas to cutting board; cool about 3 minutes, halve each quesadilla, and serve.