Fresh Pico De Gallo and sour cream or Greek yoghurt is a great accompaniment to this appetizer served best on a cold evening.

Smoked-Salmon Quesadillas with Warm Tomatoes and Arugula

Gourmet  | July 2005

Smoked-Salmon Quesadillas with Warm Tomatoes and Arugula recipe

photo by John Kernick

Makes 6 servings


  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 6 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 6 oz soft mild goat cheese at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh chives
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 12 (8-inch) flour tortillas (not low-fat)
  • 1 lb sliced smoked salmon (preferably Nova)
  • 1 firm-ripe California avocado
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb cherry tomatoes, halved lengthwise (2 2/3 cups)
  • 4 cups loosely packed arugula leaves (2 to 3 bunches)
  • Special equipment: a large (2-burner) cast-iron griddle


Soak sliced onion in a bowl of ice and cold water 15 minutes, then drain well and pat dry.

While onion soaks, stir together cheeses, chives, zest, and pepper in a bowl with a rubber spatula until combined well.

Spread about 1 1/2 tablespoons cheese mixture evenly over each of 2 tortillas (keep remaining tortillas covered with plastic wrap). Top 1 tortilla with an even layer of salmon, covering cream cheese completely, then top with other tortilla, cheese side down. Make 5 more quesadillas in same manner, then stack on a plate and chill, covered with plastic wrap, until ready to heat.

Halve, pit, and peel avocado, then cut lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick slices. Lightly brush avocado slices with lemon juice.

Heat griddle over high heat until very hot, then reduce heat to moderate. Lightly brush 2 quesadillas on both sides with some oil, then toast on griddle (1 at a time if necessary) until undersides are golden with some blackened spots, about 1 minute. Flip quesadillas over with a spatula and toast until undersides are golden with some blackened spots, 1 to 2 minutes, then transfer to a baking sheet, arranging in 1 layer, and cover with foil to keep warm. Toast remaining quesadillas in same manner, using a second baking sheet.

Heat remaining oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over high heat until hot but not smoking, then cook tomatoes, stirring occasionally and seasoning with salt and pepper, until just beginning to soften, about 1 minute.

Transfer quesadillas to plates, then top with onion, avocado, tomatoes, and arugula.