When my husband and I moved away from California, we not only left great friends behind, but we also had to say goodbye to many of our favorite restaurants. We ate out a lot in CA (since kids weren’t in the picture yet), and loved exploring new places just as much as revisiting our favorite haunts over and over again.
As time passed, I slowly forgot many of the dishes we’d eaten over the years, but a few remained firmly entrenched in my memory. Most the things I still remember were really simple. The super-garlicky olive oil and crusty bread from our favorite Italian restaurant in Marina del Rey (now closed). Grilled calamari drizzled with lemon juice and herbs from our favorite Italian restaurant in Santa Monica (sadly, also closed). And the brie and grape quesadillas from Canal Club in Venice (still there!).
One day when I was longing for those quesadillas, it dawned on me that I could probably make them. I mean, what could possibly be hard about it? I’d made plenty of quesadillas before. There were no complicated ingredients, just brie and grapes as far as I could tell.
I went to the store, bought tortillas, grapes, and brie, and got to work. Within minutes I was taking my first bite, instantly transported back to a dark turquoise vinyl booth at the Canal Club, laughing with friends and clinking glasses of Chardonnay as surfers passed by the window on their way to the beach.
If you’re thinking that brie and grape quesadillas sound weird, you’re not alone. Most people sort of make a face when I talk about how much I love them. But then they try one, and they’re all, “I MUST have this recipe.” And I say, “There really is no recipe. Just buy tortillas, grapes, and brie.”
I do have a few pointers, though (scroll below for printable recipe).
First, you must use flour tortillas.
Second, you need to slice the grapes thinly and evenly (about 1/4 inch).
Third, you need to buy a soft brie that’s creamy so you can spread it a little bit. It doesn’t need to be extra creamy, just creamy (I usually use the President brand).
Here’s something else weird. At Canal Club they serve these quesadillas with guacamole. And it makes them even better. The guacamole is no-frills; just mashed avocado with a little salt and lemon juice and possibly some cilantro. You wouldn’t think these things go together, but I promise…they DO.
Brie and Grape Quesadilla Appetizer
- 8 grapes cut into 1/4" slices
- 3 tbsp brie
- 2 flour tortillas
- olive oil
- Spread one half of a flour tortilla with a thin layer of brie.
- Top the brie with a layer of sliced grapes.
- Fold tortilla in half.
- In a skillet, heat a thin layer of olive oil over medium heat (you want the oil to fully coat the bottom of the pan, but don't use too much or the quesadillas will get greasy).
- Once the oil is warm, place the folded tortilla onto the skillet. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the tortilla is slightly browned. Flip over and brown the other side.
- Slice and serve with some mild guacamole (optional).