The Controversial Pizza Topping I Can’t Stop Adding to Quesadillas

It's a serious flavor gamechanger.



On a recent weekend getaway to Panama City Beach, Florida, I stopped at a locally-owned beach shack-style restaurant that more than one local had recommended for a great meal. Hungry from a morning at the beach, I approached the counter and saw the menu was full of Mexican-inspired delights like burritos and nachos, but it was its build-your-own quesadilla menu that made my stomach growl.

At Finns Island Style Grub, the options for the perfect, custom-made quesadilla are endless, from proteins like mahi mahi and brisket to add-ins like grilled onions and avocado. What caught my attention inspired my taste buds, however, was a sweet ingredient: pineapple. I ordered a carnitas quesadilla with pineapple and jalapeño and my life was forever changed.

It only took one bite of my delicious pork, jalapeño, and pineapple quesadilla to have a new favorite quesadilla add-in. The smokiness of the pork carnitas combined with some light heat from the jalapeños and the sweet tang of pineapple was the perfect blend.

I was immediately a fan, but is it as controversial to add pineapple to a quesadilla as it is to toss the tangy fruit on pizza? Considering that many Mexican dishes, like the marinade for al pastor pork, call for pineapple chunks or its juices, it’s not completely unheard of to add the fruit to a savory dish. Still, it had never occurred to me to use pineapple as a quesadilla ingredient until my lunch at Finns.

Why Pineapple and Pork Are the Perfect Flavor Pairing

Justin Buxton, the chef and owner of Finns, says his restaurant has been offering build-your-own quesadillas since it opened in 2009. In fact, pineapple has always been a big part of the menu at Finns, as Buxton says it fits the restaurant’s “island-style theme.”

“We put pineapple on our nachos and salad automatically at Finns,” says Buxton. “We also serve it with our kids' meals if they want fruit. I think the sweetness and acidity of pineapple enhances the flavor of many items, especially anything savory.”

Buxton says my quesadilla combo of choice—carnitas and pineapple—was a particularly good call, as the pork shoulder at Finns is slow-smoked and seasoned with jerk spices, so it blends well with the fruitiness of the pineapple. “When you add the sweetness of the pineapple it brings it to another level,” he says. “Your tastebuds kinda freak out.”

My Favorite Pineapple Quesadilla Combos

When I arrived home from my weekend in Panama City Beach, my love of pineapple in quesadillas was solidified in my own kitchen. I immediately went to work testing pineapple as an ingredient in other quesadilla combinations, tossing chunks with ham and cheese for lunch one day and with barbecue chicken and cheese for dinner for my family. Like me, my husband and teenagers were immediate pineapple-quesadilla converts.

The Biggest Tip for Adding Pineapple to Quesadilla

Want to add pineapple to your at-home quesadillas? Buxton has this major pointer: “If adding pineapple to recipes at home, I always suggest fresh,” he says. “Canned will do the trick, but fresh pineapple is fairly inexpensive and freezes well.”

Also, know that your willingness to try this possibly controversial add-in could will make you a bit of a quesadilla connoisseur. “As far as popularity goes, pineapple doesn’t get added to quesadillas at Finns as much as expected,” says Buxton. “But the ones who know, know.”

Read the original article on All Recipes.