Between flour tortillas, strange bedfellows

| 29 Aug 2014 | 12:04

September, with its warm days and cool nights is a time of transition for weather and for local crops. After months of eating light our bodies crave more substantial fare. Farm markets are brimming with late summer vegetables and early fall offerings, everything you’ll need to create a meal that captures the flavors of both seasons in one satiating dish: Sweet potato black bean quesadillas with heirloom tomato salsa.

Sweet potatoes and tomatoes – not a typical pairing, but in this dish the bracing tomato salsa cuts through each bite of the dense quesadilla. I prefer baking the sweet potatoes over boiling, although I’m not sure if baking enhances the flavor or it’s simply the aroma I love. To add texture and protein to the mashed sweet potatoes fold in black beans, also local, seasoned with cumin and Mexican oregano.

The last of the season’s colorful heirloom tomatoes, fresh red onions and cilantro combined with a splash of lime and jalapeno for heat makes the perfect fresh salsa. Try crafting your own flour tortillas, time consuming but worth the extra effort. Stuff them with a generous layer of the sweet and smoky potato filling and toast until crisp and golden brown. Serve with a summery fresh mint iced tea or a mug of fall’s sweet apple cider.

Sweet potato quesadillas

Vegan Serves 4

2 large sweet potatoes roasted, skins removed and mashed

1 Tablespoon grapeseed or other neutral tasting oil

½ cup yellow onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon Mexican oregano

2 cups cooked black beans

Pinch of salt

2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro

4 large flour tortillas

Heat oil in a medium skillet. Sauté onion and garlic 5 to 6 minutes until onion is translucent, being careful not to brown the garlic. Add cumin and oregano and cook 1 minute. Add the beans and cilantro and heat 2 minutes more. Season with salt. Fold mixture into the mashed sweet potatoes and set aside.

Heat a lightly oiled pan. Spread the bottom half of each tortilla with the filling. Fold the top half of the tortilla down to meet the filled portion. Place in pan and toast until golden brown. Flip over and brown the other side. Cut into wedges and serve with a side of salsa.

Heirloom tomato salsa

2 large heirloom tomatoes, finely diced

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed and finely diced

¼ cup finely diced red onion

2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro

2 Tablespoons lime juice

Pinch of salt

Combine the tomatoes, garlic, jalapeno, onion, cilantro and lime juice in a medium bowl. Add salt to taste.