The cheese crisp is the perfect comfort food, and this one is the cheesiest!
A cross between a Mexican pizza an an open-faced quesadilla, Southern Arizona restaurants started selling cheese crisps more than 50 years ago and it’s become a staple of our local Sonoran style cuisine. Here is my all-cheese version topped with green chiles, cilantro and a chipotle ranch drizzle.
- 2 Hatch or Padilla green chilies or one of each
- Olive oil spray
- 2 ½ 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.
Looking for the traditional flour-tortilla-based Tucson Sonoran style cheese crisp? Eventually I will post it here, but for now, you can get it in my cookbook, Taste of Tucson, available in hardback and Kindle.