Eggplant Gouda Quesadillas with Fig Jam
By: 
Dish Type: Appetizer, Snack, Lunch, Dinner
Cuisine: Gluten-Free, Meatless
Ingredient prep: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Makes: 2 quesadillas
 
Inspired by Figs Wood Fired Bistro in Sandy Hook, CT, I had to recreate this salty sweet Italian-Mex 5-ingredient wonder. Despite my usual distaste for sweetness in savory dishes, I can't get enough of this combination.
Ingredients
  • 2 Japanese eggplants, peeled and sliced ⅜" thick (just over ½ lb.)
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • Kosher salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1 medium red onion, peeled (don't halve)
  • 2 medium brown rice tortillas (such as Food for Life)
  • 1½ C coarsely shredded gouda cheese
  • 2 - 3 T fig jam (no sugar added)
  • 1½ T unsalted butter
  • Sun dried tomato and roasted garlic salsa (optional)
Make It
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees (F). Lay eggplant slices in a single layer on a baking sheet and spray (or lightly brush) with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Slice the onion into 4 thick rounds, lay in a single layer on the same sheet, and lightly coat both sides with olive oil. If making sun dried tomato salsa, remove the loose outer sheath from a head of garlic, then cut the top off so all the cloves are just exposed. Place head on a sheet of foil, rub cut cloves with a teaspoon or two of oil, then wrap tightly in the foil and place on the baking sheet. Place sheet with eggplant, onion, and garlic in the bottom third of oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove tray and flip eggplant slices over, then return to oven for 15 minutes. Remove tray and place eggplant in a dish to cool, carefully flip onion rounds over, and return tray to oven, turning 180 degrees, so the front side is now in back. Roast another 15 to 20 minutes, removing before onions are blackened (they will be quite dark, though) and when cut garlic cloves are golden.
  2. Coarsely chop eggplant slices (1/2 to 1” pieces). When onion cools, cut three of the rounds in half, reserving the fourth for the salsa, if making.
  3. To make the quesadilla, melt ½ T butter in a skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium heat. When sizzling, add the first tortilla and cook about 45 seconds per side, until warm and pliable. Remove and let rest on a paper towel for a few seconds per side, to absorb excess butter. Repeat with the second tortilla (there should be enough butter left in the pan). Turn off heat.
  4. Lay each tortilla flat and use the back of a spoon to spread half the fig jam all over each one. Cover half of each tortilla with cheese, using up half of all the cheese. Layer onion strips and eggplant pieces evenly over cheese, then cover with remaining cheese. Fold the uncovered half of each tortilla over the fillings.
  5. Cook each quesadilla individually by melting ½ T butter in the pan over medium or medium high (depending on the strength of your stove). Gently lay quesadilla in butter and cook for about 2 minutes, until first side is golden brown. If you have another small cast iron pan or sandwich press, set it on the quesadilla as it cooks. Flip quesadilla over along the fold, so the filling doesn’t fall out, then cook another two minutes until browned on the second side and cheese is melted. Cook second quesadilla the same way. If making more than two, keep finished quesadillas warm in a low oven.
  6. Cut into pieces with a sharp knife after cooling for a few minutes (extremely hot cheese will be a mess!), and serve with sun dried tomato and roasted garlic salsa.
Notes
Preparing and roasting the vegetables takes about 50 minutes. If done in advance and refrigerated, the total time is less than a half hour (much less, if you work efficiently).
Recipe by Natural Comfort Kitchen at http://www.naturalcomfortkitchen.com/eggplant-gouda-fig-jam-quesadillas/