Must-Try Recipe: Richard Sandoval's Rock Shrimp and Bacon Quesadilla

When world-renowned chef Richard Sandoval invites you to his guacamole tasting festival at Manhattan's Maya restaurant, you go — even if one of the said guacs involves fried grasshoppers as a topping. That's right, when we sat down to sample Sandoval's avocado-based dips, we were presented with an unexpected addition. Turns out, it's pretty major (and crunchy).

While this insect alternative to the classic guacamole was impressive, we were equally satisfied by his Rock Shrimp and Bacon Quesadilla. So much so, we even stole the recipe for you to recreate at home (de nada). Try this tasty dish for yourself and reserve a table at Maya from now until September 30th, 2014 to partake in a festive culinary experience that features seven unique guacamoles, among them a fruit-centric Baja Guacamole, made with kiwi, jicama, strawberry, mango, mint, chile de arbol and lime, and a Pacifico Gaucamole, boasting grilled beet, roasted walnut, queso fresco, diced-orange and citrus-chipotle salt.

Must-Try Recipe: Richard Sandoval's Rock Shrimp and Bacon Quesadilla
Country of Origin
Preparation time
  • 3 slices bacon
  • 12 oz. large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 scallions (white and green parts) thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped pickled jalapeños or store-bought jalapeños en escabeche 
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds (optional)
  • 12 6-inch flour tortillas

1. Cook the bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, turning occasionally, until it is crisp and browned, about 8 minutes. Transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain. Let it cool. Clean the pan and set it aside.

2. Toss together the shrimp, chili powder, oil, and salt in a medium bowl. Heat the skillet over medium heat. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring them occasionally, just until they turn opaque, about 3 minutes. Do not overcook. Spread the shrimp on a plate and put them in the freezer to quickly cool them, about 15 minutes.

3. Coarsely chop the bacon and shrimp and transfer them to a bowl. Mix in the cheese, scallions, jalapeños, mayonnaise, cilantro, lemon juice, and sesame seeds, if using. (The filling can be covered and refrigerated for up 12 hours.)

4. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat it to 200ºF (90ºC).

5. Heat the skillet over medium heat. For each quesadilla, put a tortilla in the skillet and heat until the underside is hot, about 30 seconds. Flip the tortilla over. Spoon about ⅓ cup (75 g) of the filling on the bottom half of the tortilla and fold it in half to cover the filling. Continue cooking, turning once, until the tortilla is lightly browned on both sides, about 1 minute. Transfer it to a baking sheet to keep warm in the oven while cooking the remaining quesadillas.

6. To serve, cut each quesadilla into four wedges. Serve them immediately.

Find more delicioso quesadilla recipes here!