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Spicy Shrimp Quesadilla Recipe

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Simple, right? There are a few tricks to good quesadillas. Start with choice ingredients.

Quesadillas are simply grilled tortillas filled with queso (Spanish for cheese) and any conceivable combination of meat and/or vegetables. With their origin in colonial Mexico, their popularity soon expanded and can now be found in restaurant and dinner tables worldwide.

This recipe is my take on quesadillas, using fresh Florida shrimp. The spicy chipotle marinade can be made with more peppers and there's no reason you can't add garlic to the veggie mix. Also, any moist cheese, like cheddar or American, can be substituted for the Monterey jack. No matter your choice of fillings, these spicy and crispy treats are easy to make and will likely become a favorite from your home kitchen.

Spicy Shrimp Quesadillas

    Prep time: 20 minutes

    Cooking time: 15 minutes

    Serves 6


Simple ingredients kick up the classic quesadillas flavor profile.

  • 1 pound large Florida shrimp, peeled and deveined

  • ½ cup orange juice

  • 1 canned chipotle pepper

  • Spray canola oil

  • 1 sweet onion, thinly sliced

  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced

  • 6 large flour tortillas

  • 2 cups shredded Monterey jack cheese

  • Salt and black pepper

  • Guacamole and chips, on the side


In a blender or food processor, puree the chipotle pepper and orange juice.

Add the shrimp and marinate for 15 minutes.

While the shrimp are soaking, heat a fry pan to medium-high, add the spray oil and cook the onion and pepper until the edges char.

Drain the shrimp of the marinade and add to the vegetable mix. Cook about 5 minutes, taking care not to overcook. Remove the pan from heat and set aside.

Heat a separate fry pan, preferably cast iron, to medium and coat with a light spray of cooking oil. Place a tortilla in the pan and coat with one third of the cheese, adding a third of the shrimp and vegetable mix. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Top with a second tortilla; cook until bottom is crisp and flip, using a large spatula, to crisp the other side. Repeat for the additional quesadillas.

Cut the quesadillas into wedges and serve with guacamole and chips. And a cold cerveza!


Pink shrimp, pictured. Say that three times fast.

According to the FWC, there are three main varieties of shrimp harvested in Florida: pink, brown and white. The most popular is the pink shrimp, found in clear waters from the west central region, through the Keys and into southeast Florida. Brown shrimp are found in darker waters, and farther north. And white shrimp are caught in the Panhandle, in shallower and less salty waters.

Be sure to always devein your shrimp during prep for the best flavor.

In all cases, and depending on the time of year, all species are usually available statewide. When “they're running,” which varies from region to region, they are fun to catch with a castnet or dipnet and light at night. And they all taste great! FS

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