Shrimp Quesadilla

Quesadillas have to be my favorite go-to food for lunch. They’re just so easy to make! Especially when you have tortillas and cheese in the fridge, which we almost always do. Recently I had lunch with an old friend at Buck’s of Woodside, a rather famous hang-out for Silicon Valley venture capitalists, and had a spectacular marinated shrimp and Jack cheese quesadilla, smothered in avocado and creme fresca, served on a bed of shredded iceberg lettuce. I’ve created my own version here, inspired by that wonderful lunch at Buck’s. I could eat these all day.

Shrimp Quesadilla Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: Serves one.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 pound of medium-small shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 Tbsp of lime or lemon juice
  • 1/4 jalapeno or serrano chile, finely minced and/or dash of chile powder
  • 1 Tbsp chopped green onion
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 medium-sized flour tortillas
  • 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/4 avocado, sliced
  • Dollop of sour cream or crema fresca

Method

1 If you are starting with frozen raw shrimp, defrost them by placing them in a bowl of ice water until defrosted. Then poach the raw shrimp for 1 to 2 minutes in boiling water, remove from pan with a slotted spoon, and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking. If you are starting with frozen cooked shrimp, you can defrost them in a bowl of ice water or lemon juice with ice.

2 Place strained cooked shrimp in a bowl. Add lime or lemon juice, some chopped fresh jalapeno or serrano chile and/or a dash of chile powder (can also use chipotle chiles or chipotle chili powder) to desired level of heat, green onion, and cilantro. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Let marinate for 10 to 30 minutes. Strain out the juice.

3 Heat a cast iron or stick-free skillet on medium high. Add a small amount of oil (about 1/2 teaspoon) and spread it around the bottom of the pan with a spatula (you could use butter as well). Place one flour tortilla on the skillet. Flip the tortilla over a few times, 10 seconds between flips. Air pockets should begin to form within the tortilla. Remove the tortilla and repeat with the second tortilla. Leave the second tortilla in the pan and reduce the heat to medium.

shrimp-quesadilla-1.jpg

4 Sprinkle the tortilla with the grated cheese. Distribute the shrimp mixture on top of the cheese. Place the other tortilla on top. Using two spatulas (one to hold the top in place) flip the quesadilla over when the bottom tortilla is nicely toasted and the cheese has begun to melt. Remove the quesadilla from the pan when the now bottom tortilla has toasted sufficiently.

You can also use just one tortilla instead of two, and fold the tortilla over itself like an omelette.

5 Cut like a pie into six pieces. A pizza wheel works well for this. Place on a serving plate. Serve with avocado slices and sour cream. Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro.

shrimp-quesadilla-2.jpg

28 Comments

  1. Deborah Dowd

    Even though I have a cold, this sounds terrific! I think I might use some pepper jack cheese to stimulate my cold-weary tastebuds, and do this for lunch!

  2. Pam Irick

    So coincidental – I had shrimp quesadillas for dinner last night from a local place here in Texas – They were so good, and now thanks to you I can make my own at home anytime! Yummy looking as usual, thanks!

  3. lydia

    I always think that Italian cuisine is missing out on a great taste by not mixing shrimp and other shellfish with cheese. I can see how these quesadillas could become addictive!

  4. Jerry

    Looks like I may have just found a new go-to lunch myself. I’ll bet it would be just as good with large shrimp cut into chunks. (I only stock 20-25′s)

  5. Kalyn

    Wow, I could eat these all day myself. (And with 100% whole wheat tortillas, this recipe is completely South Beach friendly, hooray!) Saving to del.icio.us right now!

  6. Jordan

    Thank You. How’d you know what was on my mind?

  7. JEP

    Mmmm…what a work of art you presented today!

  8. Sorina

    Looks tasty and really easy to make :)

  9. Amy

    I love this kind of recipe because it has so many ingredients I am likely to have on hand. Is that wrong to say? It’s like convenience food, but the best kind.

  10. Kevin

    These sound so good! Shrimp and melted cheese in warm tortillas…mm…

  11. George

    Wow. This sounds absolutely amazing. I think I will be making these tomorrow. May not be exactly the same, but close. I just never thought about shrimp in a Quesadilla before. I have done tuna, but not shrimp. good job!

  12. FZQ

    My mouth is watering on this one. I love quesadillas. Thanks for posting.

  13. Janice C. Cartier

    Yummy. Became a fan of shrimp tacos in Santa Fe. Now I can make my own. these look fantastique! Just a note for those of us to whom cilantro tastes like ivory soap (10% of the population) what would you substitute?

    If cilantro tastes like soap to you, I would just skip it! ~Elise

  14. Susan from Food Blogga

    This is one of our go-to meals as well. In fact, we just had them on Saturday. They’re so fast, easy, and versatile. What’s not to love?

  15. Espahan

    I was wondering what to do with those frozen cooked shrimp. I even have the Jack cheese and tortillas, plus the avocado and a small fresh jalepeno. How lucky is that?. This looks like another winner.

  16. Rachael

    I am SO inspired! And just in time for dinner…thanks Elise!

  17. Susan

    Sounds like a perfect lunch or light supper dish. I love fish tacos, so I’m sure that I’ll love these too.

  18. Karina

    Elise, That top photo is absolutely beautiful! Lovely presentation. You can’t beat seafood with tortillas. Yum.

  19. nasiman

    I had something similar in Australia, but its filled with Spinach instead. shrimp quesadillas seems more appetizing

  20. Sarah

    I do a similar take on the shrimp quesadilla, but toss in a couple of extra ingredients to make them more substantial. Instead of poaching, I saute the shrimp and toss in some sweet corn (from the freezer) and black beans. I think I need to make these sometime soon.

  21. Leisureguyy

    If the shrimp are not cooked, soaking them in brine greatly improves texture…

  22. Amanda

    Tortillas have just gone on the shopping list. We could definitely eat these every day!

  23. Laryssa

    I made a Mexican-inspired tabbouleh on Friday night and refrigerated all the leftover, chopped-up cilantro, red onion and green peppere. How lucky for me to find this recipe on Saturday morning so that I could put my chopped vegetables to good use. I even made my own guac to go with this yummy dish. So delicious…quesadillas are my weakness. Thanks!

  24. Ni'Chole

    I’ve had this before and it is WONDERFUl…I was just wondering if anyone has tried to make them with corn tortillas instead of wheat or flour? If so how did they turn out?

  25. Naomi

    I’m not very familiar with peppers and chiles. Is “chile powder” the same as the “chili powder” that I put in my beans & beef chili?

  26. Jenny

    I made these last night for a few friends, and everyone loved them! Thanks for such a wonderful recipe — I’m sending it out to my friends right now. We are all big fans of Bucks also (I live in the Bay area) — I’ll have to try the version of these quesadillas at Bucks soon!

    PS. I love the blog — I’m slowly working my way through all the yummy recipes!

  27. alisa

    Elise,
    This is a remarkable site…..I can’t thank you enough for all these amazing recipes. I’m one for getting bored quickly of making the same things….I made the Shrimp Quesadillas this weekend for lunch and they were a HUGE hit! Yummy…..;o)

  28. Sergio

    For starters, quesadillas began as a folded tortilla with cheese (queso, that’s where the word comes from). Then in Mexico City they began making quesadillas with mashed potatoes, flor de calabaza, (cabbage, zucchini or pumpkin flowers, I really don’t know the variety they use, but it’s good and now it’s sold in cans, you should try it), huitlacoche (corn smut, another good one to try, it’s good) and other ingredients (each used individually for each quesadilla). I think they even use queso sometimes. But what you describe here, sort of like a tortilla sandwich, is known as sincronizada, not quesadilla, and is usually made with one or two slices of ham and cheese in between, mostly Oaxaca or asadero cheese. Still, your shrimp sincronizada sounds like a pretty good idea and I thank you for it.

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