Atomic Eggplant Cravings, Take 2

Today’s blog post is kind of a do-over. In September 2011, I wrote about my attempts to re-create a sweet potato quesadilla which was offered at the former Atomic Eggplant in Rochester. My first attempt included sweet potatoes, black beans, caramelized onions and Queso Fresco, a Mexican cheese.

Thanks to a helpful reader named Luke who happened to work for the former restaurant at one point, I was able to pin down the ingredients. On my second attempt, I added cumin and curry spices to the sweet potatoes and replaced the black beans with blackberries. I think the members of my book club liked both versions. I’d love to hear if anyone has suggestions for a fresh, non-tomato based salsa that might compliment this dish for the next time I make it?

You will need:

  • 2 or 3 medium sweet potatoes
  • 2 medium white onions
  • Whole wheat flour tortilla shells
  • 1 pint of blackberries
  • Butter
  • Cumin
  • Brown sugar
  • Curry powder
  • Queso Fresco
  • Cilantro and sour cream for serving

UPDATE:

Since this blog post was published, yet another former Atomic Eggplant employee has divulged the secret to these quesadillas:

-Add nutmeg cinnamon cloves and lots of Brown sugar to the sweet potatoes.
-Use corn tortillas and Monterrey Jack cheese and frozen blackberries.
-No butter or margarine if it’s for a vegan, and soy cheese instead of real cheese if you swing that way.

Thanks Pete and Luke for weighing in. I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback from this one!!

The potatoes and onions will need to be cooked first. Both can be baked at 400 degrees. Wash the sweet potatoes, pierce them with a knife and wrap them in tin foil. Be sure to put a baking sheet underneath the potatoes so they don’t leak sugar all over our oven. The potatoes could take about an hour depending on the size. You want them mashable, but not over-baked; remember, you’ll be baking the potatoes again inside the quesadilla shell.

Next, caramelize the onions. Cut the onions into uniform strips and place them in a baking dish with about three squares of butter and some salt and pepper. Cover with aluminum foil and cook for anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour. Stir them halfway through and take them out when they start to look the color of caramel.

Drain and rinse the blackberries. You can give the blackberries a rough chop, being careful to retain some big chunks of berry, or you can just use your hands to break them up as you distribute them among the quesadillas.

Once the onions and sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle, reheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Peel the skin off the sweet potato (it should come off easily) and place the insides in a medium bowl. Add cumin, curry powder, brown sugar and butter to potatoes and mash to combine. I did not measure out the spices and brown sugar. I just added a little at a time and kept tasting it until I liked the flavor.

Lay out your ingredients in front of you – sweet potatoes, onions, tortilla shells and blackberries.

Now begin assembling. Spray one side of the shell with some cooking spray and lay it down on a baking sheet. Mash sweet potato on half the shell. Then add some onions, blackberries and cheese, and fold the top of the shell over to close the quesadilla. Continue until you run out of ingredients.

Bake the quesadillas for about 15 minutes on each side or until golden and crisp on both sides. Once they’ve cooled, slice them like you would a pizza, serve with sour cream and cilantro, and enjoy!

 

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4 responses

  1. Wow. I ate at the Atomic Eggplant for the first, and sadly last, time not long before it closed. My mom and I shared these as an appetizer and I regretted not having ordered them as my entree. Seriously, I have DREAMED of this quesadilla ever since. And clearly I periodically google around in hopes of finding someone with a recipe. And so here I am! Thank you. I will be trying this soon!

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