Open-faced crispy tortilla sandwiches

FreeImages.com/Jose Alfredo Gomez Soberano

Tortillas: Molding can be a problem with some tortillas, so check the fine print on the packaging to see if refrigeration is recommended after opening. If so, put them in the fridge and they will stay fresh until the expiration date.

Makes 2 sandwiches (2 servings)

Serve these elegant open-faced crispy sandwiches for a light lunch. The procedure may appear lengthy, but the individual components can be prepared early in the day, even if the recipe is multiplied. Quickly assemble the colorful sandwiches just before serving.

For the sauce

¼ cup bottled roasted red pepper sauce

For the spread

¼ cup Basil Pesto

For the bread

Two 7-inch flour tortillas

2 teaspoons olive oil

For the topping

1 tablespoon olive oil

¾ cup diced red bell pepper

¾ cup diced yellow bell pepper

¾ cup diced green bell pepper

½ cup peeled and diced zucchini

¼ cup minced red onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Dash of freshly ground pepper, or to taste

Dash of salt, or to taste

 

To complete the recipe

½ cup fresh mozzarella cheese in ½-inch cubes (about 3 ounces)

Sprigs of fresh watercress or basil for garnishing

 

To prepare the tortillas, adjust the oven rack to 4 to 5 inches from the broiling element; preheat the broiler. Cut each tortilla into 4 wedges; lightly brush both sides with olive oil, place the tortillas on a baking sheet, and prick the surfaces in several places with a fork. Broil until lightly browned, 1 to 2 minutes on each side. Watch closely! Set aside on a plate; they will become crisper as they cool.

To make the topping, heat the oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bell peppers, zucchini, onion, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the bell peppers are tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in the lemon juice, pepper, and salt. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

To assemble each serving, spoon some of the spread onto 4 tortilla wedges. Top with the bell pepper mixture and dot with the cheese. Arrange the sandwiches on a serving plate, drizzle with the red pepper sauce, and garnish.

Paulette Mitchell, a culinary instructor, television personality, spokesperson, freelance food writer, and the award-winning author of 13 cookbooks, is known internationally for her quick-to-prepare recipes with gourmet flair. Paulette's most recently published cookbook is "The Complete 15-Minute Gourmet: Creative Cuisine Made Fast and Fresh." She is also the author of "A Beautiful Bowl of Soup" and "The Spirited Vegetarian," which was voted "Best Book in the World on Cooking with Wine" at the 2005 Gourmand World Media Awards. Paulette says that international travel is her favorite source of culinary inspiration.