Every summer I work as a private chef for a family in the Hamptons. When I applied for the job, there was one dish they really wanted me to make: chicken quesadillas. Sure, I could sous vide a steak and make perfect hollandaise, but their former chef evidently made a pretty great quesadilla, and they wanted to see if I could live up to it.
Quesadillas are a ridiculously uncomplicated dish: tortillas stuffed with cheese and whatever else your heart desires, pan fried until the interior is melted and oozing and the outside is crisp. But like anything else simple, there is an art to making them well. So I set about making the best version I could imagine. I used three kinds of cheese and a homemade Mexican spice rub that adds a gentle heat to the chicken and peppers. A touch of oil in the skillet helps to really get the tortillas crisp.
I got the job. And I still make these quesadillas for my clients to this day. Serve them with a simple guacamole and some sour cream, and dinner (or breakfast, or lunch, or an afternoon snack) is done. —Farideh Sadeghin