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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Crab and Avocado Mini Quesadillas

Every once in a while, I absolutely love to just cook appetizers for dinner. I will make 4 or 5 different hot appetizers and put them all in the middle of the table along side some veggie sticks, dip, bread and assorted cheeses. It's a great dinner that everyone loves (especially the kids, since they can pick and choose what they want - which is usually just a lot of bread and cheese). It is also a great way to experiment and test out some new recipes before springing them on unsuspecting friends at a potluck!

This recipe has become a real favorite of ours. If you think it seems fussy, you can always make the quesadillas full-size and cut them into wedges for serving. The original inspiration for this recipe came from a 2007 Holiday Appetizer edition of Fine Cooking Magazine.

Crab and Avocado Mini Quesadillas
makes about 60 appetizers

Mango Salsa
1 ripe mango (peeled, pitted and diced)
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1 large ripe tomato, seeded and diced
2 tbsp finely chopped chives
2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 fresh jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
salt and pepper

Crab and Avocado Quesadillas
12 8-inch flour tortillas
1 1/2 cups cooked crabmeat
1 1/2 cups shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
2 ripe avocados, diced
1/3 cup green onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup cilantro, finely chopped
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
salt and pepper
olive oil for frying

1. To make the salsa, combine all of the salsa ingredients and let stand for at least one hour before serving.

2. Cut 120 circles out of the tortillas using a 2 inch cookie cutter.

3. Mix together the crab meat, cheese, avocado, green onion, cilantro, and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Spread about 1 tablespoon of crab mixture on each of 60 tortilla circles and top with the remaining circles (you can get this far and the chill the circles until it is time to cook them).

5. Heat a small amount of oil in a non stick pan over medium heat and fry in batches until golden brown. An alternative I have used a couple of times is to spray a baking sheet with cooking spray, load it up with quesadillas, spray the top of the quesadillas lightly with cooking spray, and bake in the oven at 400F until golden. About 10-15 minutes or so.

6. Serve warm with a small spoonful of salsa on top.