A cross between a Mexican pizza an an open-faced quesadilla, the cheese crisp is the perfect comfort food. Southern Arizona restaurants started selling the dish more than 50 years ago and it’s become a staple of our local “Sonoran Style” cuisine. I ditched the tortilla and came up with this super-cheesy, updated version of the dish that is grain-free, and thus gluten-free and low-carb as well. Parmesan is a hard cheese that crisps when melted, replacing the flour based tortilla. Serve the chipotle ranch on the side as a dipping sauce if you don’t have a squeeze bottle available. I used a blend of jack, cheddar, and queso quesadilla for the Mexican cheese blend. See more of the recipes I’ve developed for Tastebook.com
May 31, 2018
by Jackie Alpers
2 Hatch or Padilla green chilies, or one of each
Olive oil spray
2 1/2 cups shredded Parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro leaves
Ingredients for the Chipotle Ranch Drizzle
1 cup prepared ranch dressing
1 tablespoon adobo sauce from a jar of chipotles chilies
Preheat the broiler to 475 degrees. Wash the chilies and spray them with olive oil. Place on a baking sheet and broil, turning occasionally until the chilies are brown and the skin is blistered; about 10-15 minutes.
While the chilies are roasting, mix together the ranch dressing and the adobo sauce. Transfer to a plastic squeeze bottle and refrigerate until ready to use.
Remove chilies from the oven, peel off the blistered skin, remove the seeds and stems, and cut lengthwise into 1/4-1/8 inch wide strips. Set aside.
Line a round 12-14” pizza pan with a round silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Cover with a layer of shredded Parmesan cheese. You should just barely see the bottom of the pan through the cheese. Broil for 5-7 minutes or until crisp. Remove from oven. Set the oven to “bake” and reduce the temperature to 350 degrees.
Sprinkle the Mexican cheese blend on top of the crisp Parmesan “crust”, then arrange the chili strips on top. Return to the oven for 2-3 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
Top with fresh cilantro leaves, then drizzle with chipotle ranch in a spiral pattern. Cut with a pizza wheel and serve.