when i looked back at the printed copy of the original recipe, i noticed that i printed it back in 2003. whiiich was 12 years ago?! what?? it can’t be 12 years ago, because i remember making these in college and i only graduated… a decade ago. crazy.
truth 1: time flies
truth 2: these quesadillas are tasty, and have gotten better over the years as i’ve adapted them
but let’s start with when i first made them. junior year my friend/roommate and i were living in a charming (ha!) dorm built in 1968 to be riot proof. the 1960s being the golden age of concrete that they were, this dorm had all the charm of a minimum security prison. what it did have, though, that i suspect many prisons may lack, was a functioning kitchen on some of the floors. my friend and i were lucky enough to get rooms on one of the floors that had a kitchen and, having already dispensed with the university meal plan, we quickly set about getting a cart on wheels (which holds my microwave and toaster to this day!) so that we could wheel our pots, pans, plates, utensils, ingredients, etc. down the hall each night to cook dinner for ourselves.
as busy college students (who wheeled their cooking supplies and ingredients down the hall from their tiny dorm rooms to the tiny shared kitchen), having recipes that were quick and easy to prepare was key. we were excited when we found this recipe because it sounded delicious and didn’t require any entire spice cabinet plus 4 separate pots. the first few times we made it, we followed the recipe and it was good.
then, as was bound to happen, one day the local chain grocery store was out of papaya. so we grabbed a mango instead. and realized that mango + brie is super delicious. more delicious than papaya and brie. and mango is, at least in my mind, easier to prepare and yields more than enough fruit for 2 quesadillas. given that i’ve made this for 2 people 99% of the time that i’ve made it, not having ¾ of a papaya leftover is a plus in my book. all of that is to say, there was no going back after that first swap; i’ve not made this with papaya ever since.
subbing mango for papaya was the biggest change we made, though over the years i’ve also started using whole wheat wraps instead of white. i also don’t bother to cube the brie, preferring instead to just thinly slice it instead to save, you know, 47 seconds of prep time. and over the past 12 (!) years, that’s a lot of seconds saved.
- 1 mango, peeled and cut into 1/4″ thick slices (you will have some leftover – lucky you!)
- 4 oz. (114 g.) brie cheese, cut into 1/4″ thick slices
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 medium onion, cut into 1/4″ thick slices
- 2 tablespoons seeded and minced jalapeño (or to taste)
- 2 whole wheat or flour tortillas
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- salsa/sour cream/guacamole for serving, optional
- heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. add the onion and give it a 2 minute head start before you add the jalapeño. sauté for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and just beginning to brown. remove from heat.
- in a large skillet (ideally but not mandatorily with a lid), arrange the 2 tortillas side by side (i find it easier to flip back and forth between which one is open vs. closed while filling them rather than filling them on the counter and trying to move them full and not cooked). evenly spread out the brie, mango, onion/jalapeño, and cilantro over one half of each tortilla. close the tortilla half over each quesadilla.
- put the skillet over medium heat. cook for a few minutes on each side until both sides are golden brown and the cheese is melted. if you have a lid for the skillet, i find it helpful to use a lid while the first side is cooking so the cheese melts before both sides get too brown. i never put a lid on after i flip the quesadilla over, though, because i don’t want the side that i just made crispy to get soggy.
- cut into wedges and serve immediately with your favorite quesadilla condiments, if desired.
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