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Chef Ming Tsai Shares a Party Favorite: Quesadillas

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He was practically raised in his family's Dayton, Ohio, restaurant, cooking alongside his parents. As a mechanical engineering student at Yale, Ming chose to spend summers at Paris' famous Le Cordon Bleu. More culinary training followed, then a master's degree in hospitality at Cornell. Now, talk about a full plate: two Boston-area hot spots, five cookbooks and 10 seasons as the star of Simply Ming on public television. Here, the dad of two boys (10 and 13) and so-called sandwich king — "I'm known to put pretty much anything between two slices of bread" — shares a party favorite.

Gorgonzola and Gingered Pear Quesadillas

Ingredients

4 ripe pears, preferably Bosc

Juice of 1 lime

1 tablespoon minced ginger

8 ounces Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

8 large flour tortillas

8 thin slices ham or prosciutto

Canola oil

Directions

  • Peel, halve and core pears. Cut into 1/4-inch dice and transfer to a medium bowl. Add lime juice, ginger and Gorgonzola. Stir gently.
  • Lay 8 tortillas flat on work surface. Lay a slice of ham toward one side of each, then top with pear mixture. Fold tortilla over to make a half-moon shape.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in a skillet. When oil is hot, carefully add as many quesadillas as fit comfortably in pan and cook until browned, about 2 minutes. With a large spatula, turn and brown other side, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a platter. Repeat with remaining quesadillas. Cut into wedges to serve. Makes 8 servings.

Recipe Rejigger: Instead of tortillas, use mu shu wrappers, available at many Asian markets.

For Ming's take on a summertime must, make his Shiitake and Parmesan Hamburger

Originally published in the June 2013 issue of Family Circle magazine.

Recipe from: Simply Ming in Your Kitchen: 80 Recipes to Watch, Learn, Cook & Enjoy by Ming Tsai with Arthur Boehm, Kyle Books, 2012. Photographs by Bill Bettencourt.

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