I might have a new favorite use for my grill pans; quesadillas! I have been making quesadillas for my kids for years but it never popped into my head to make them with my grill pan until a few weeks ago. I wanted to play around with them a little before I posted but now I have a few insights to share.
As far as the general construction of the quesadilla I prefer using a single large tortilla folded over into a half moon with a cheese filling in the middle. I have tried putting the filling between two small tortillas but found that the hassle of flipping them wasn’t worth the effort. For the filling let your imagination go wild but keep your audience in mind. For my kids I stick with cheese and diced chicken. For adults some good additions include jalapenos, black beans, smoked pulled pork and caramelized onions (not all at the same time of course!) My secret tip is to apply a thin layer of refried beans onto the tortilla before adding the cheese. You wouldn’t expect this to make much of a difference but it really pushes a good quesadilla into the realm of greatness.
My family is bi-polar as far as tortillas are concerned. Half of us are fans of flour tortillas and half of us insist upon “low carb” tortillas due to our expanding waistlines. A BIG LEARNING is that flour tortillas will easily get beautiful grill marks. In contrast, I don’t think I could put grill marks on a low carb tortilla even if I used a blowtorch! I haven’t tried this with corn tortillas but I suspect they would turn out great.
As far as grilling the quesadillas it is as simple as you might expect. Preheat a lightly oiled grill pan over medium heat for a few minutes and add the tortilla to the pan. Gently press the tortilla with a spatula to encourage good contact with the ridges on the pan. After three minutes or so, flip and repeat. Although I lightly oil my pan I do it because I think it helps the tortilla brown up better, not to help with sticking. I am not sure that the oil really helps with the browning but it is an old habit that works for me.
I was very impressed with how well the flour tortillas took up the grill marks. My kids very much prefer these over my standard quesadillas. Compared to quesadillas made in a regular frying pan these look much nicer and have a better “crunch factor”.
If you are looking for ideas or equipment check out my page on grill pan starter sets!