Chef's Recipes

Blackjack quesadillas

Australian Gourmet Traveller recipe for Blackjack quesadillas

By Roy Choi
  • Serves 8
  • 1 hr preparation
  • 40 mins cooking plus marinating, cooling
Blackjack quesadillas
Blackjack quesadillas

“You ever get in a car, fill up a cooler with ice and drinks and ask someone to have food waiting for you five hours away then turn around and go right back? For no other reason than adventure? Well, if you ever did, then the blackjack quesadilla would be your reward. It was my gift to some hungry adventure-seekers from Las Vegas.”


  • 125 ml canola oil (½ cup)
  • 4 white onions, finely diced
  • 2 cups coriander, coarsely chopped (firmly packed)
  • 4 lime wedges, plus extra to serve
  • 4 flour tortillas, 25cm-30cm in diameter
  • 140 gm cheddar, coarsely grated
  • 140 gm Monterey Jack, coarsely grated (see note)
  • To serve: toasted sesame seeds
Spicy pork al pastor
  • 160 ml gochujang (see note) (2/3 cup)
  • 80 ml light soy sauce (1/3 cup)
  • 60 ml Sprite lemonade (¼ cup)
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 spring onion, coarsely chopped
  • ½ jalapeño chilli, coarsely chopped
  • 900 gm pork belly, skin removed, sliced 5mm thick
Salsa verde
  • 120 ml canola oil
  • 3 small garlic cloves, thinly sliced on a mandolin
  • 1 small jalapeño chilli
  • ¼ small white onion
  • 1½ cups coriander, coarsely chopped (firmly packed)
  • 3 tsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp each lime juice and freshly squeezed orange juice


  • 1
    For spicy pork al pastor, purée ingredients (except pork belly) in a blender until smooth (1-2 minutes). Mix marinade with pork belly in a non-reactive container, cover and refrigerate to marinate (2 hours-overnight).
  • 2
    Meanwhile, for salsa verde, heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat to 150C. Add garlic and stir continuously until just golden (1-1½ minutes; be careful not to overcook garlic or it will become bitter). Strain through a metal sieve into a heatproof bowl (reserve garlic and oil separately) and cool to room temperature. Meanwhile, heat a char-grill pan over high heat and grill jalapeño and onion until black but not burnt (8-10 minutes). When cool enough to handle, peel jalapeño (discard skin) and transfer to a food processor with onion, fried garlic and reserved oil. Add remaining ingredients, season to taste with sea salt, process until very smooth (2-3 minutes) and refrigerate until required. Makes about 250ml.
  • 3
    Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat, add onion, stir occasionally until tender (8-10 minutes), season to taste and keep warm.
  • 4
    Heat a plancha (see note) to medium-high heat, or heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Add 1 tsp oil and one-quarter of the pork and stir occasionally until cooked through (3-4 minutes), then add one-quarter of the coriander and squeeze over a lime wedge. Add 1 tsp oil to a clean section of the plancha or to a separate frying pan large enough to fit a tortilla. Add tortilla to pan, scatter one-quarter of each cheese, cooked pork mixture and one-quarter of the onions over tortilla, fold like a half-moon and cook, turning once, until tortilla blisters and cheese melts (1-2 minutes). Remove from pan and keep warm. Wipe pan clean with absorbent paper and repeat, in batches, with remaining ingredients.
  • 5
    Cut tortillas into wedges and serve doused with salsa verde and scattered with sesame seeds, with extra lime wedges.


Monterey Jack is an American semi-hard cow’s milk cheese. It is available from Costco Melbourne (see stockists p193). You could substitute Aussie Jack cheese, available from Monterey Mexican Foods. Gochujang is Korean chilli paste. It is available from Korean and select other Asian grocers. You can use the flat plate of a barbecue as a plancha.
This recipe is from the March 2011 issue of
Drink Suggestion: Fragrant pale ale or spicy grenache rosé Drink suggestion by Max Allen

  • Author: Roy Choi