So I used to be super into grilled cheese sandwiches back in the day. Still am, mind you, but not to the extent that I was when I was, say, 9 years old. As I grew older, I started moving away from the traditional American “cheese in a plastic wrapper with white bread” versions, experimenting with a range of cheese and eventually eschewing white bread altogether. I also discovered that other cultures had their own version of the grilled cheese sandwich. Quesadillas didn’t enter my life until late high school or early college, due to a rather gastronomically limited upbringing, and I decided they were pretty much the Mexican version of a grilled cheese sandwich. Except with more interesting ingredients. And actually, I’m not even sure they’re traditional Mexican, considering the shredded cheese that tends to live inside of them. Tex-Mex, perhaps? All of this is beside the point however, that being that quesadillas are awesome.
I picked up some super sweet ginormous tortillas from the local Hispanic grocery store recently, and thought, “What better way to celebrate ginormous tortilla acquisition then to cover it with cheese and plants and bake it?”
So, along with some shredded cheddar, I went with chopped tomato, green pepper, and scallions for the innards. Note that the tortilla covers almost an entire pizza pan, how fabulous is that? I have spent an embarrassing amount of time over the course of my life being bitter towards various grocery stores for not offering tortillas in the sizes I need to make things such as giant imitation Chipotle burritos. Or, apparently, quesadillas the size of pizzas.
And so it baked at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes in the oven. Baking and not frying, you ask? Why yes! And for three very good reasons:
- The quesadilla is freaking huge. I don’t think I have a spatula that wouldn’t send ingredients flying everywhere when I tried to flip this baby. I’m also not sure I have a pan that could support it’s size. Well, maybe the wok. Making a quesadilla in a wok shall remain an adventure for another day, however!
- I am lazy. This is a motivator for many things that I do. Or don’t do, as the case may be. Frying the quesadilla means having to hang out in the kitchen and wait for one side to cook, then flip, then maybe flip it again, and make sure it doesn’t get burned. Or make sure I don’t get burned, spitting oil can be pretty traumatic stuff!
- It’s healthier, kinda? That whole “don’t have to use oil” thing and all. Some might say that this causes a decrease in quesadilla quality, but I beg to differ (Pleeease? May I?) It simply makes for a different quesadilla experience.
Of course, what often makes a quesadilla go from good to fabulous is what you pile on top of it. As I am pretty bad at planning out meals, and have a bad habit of forgetting my grocery list when I do, I often find myself at the mercy of whatever happens to be sitting around in the fridge. In this case, I had cilantro, an avocado which I smashed to a pulp with some lime and garlic (mmm guacamole…), and beans. The beans were leftovers from a completely separate adventure involving my glorious new rice cooker/slow cooker, which I don’t think I’ve mentioned before on here. Anyhow, I dumped all the ingredients on top, devoured, and declared it delicious. Highly recommended, carbs and cheese (with bonus toppings) are always a winning combination!