Are you tired of mangoes yet? Good, me neither. I still have a few more mangoes to use up from the giant box we received last week, so we are all in luck.
Mangoes are a pretty awesome fruit, but as much as I love to source as close to home as possible and support local farms, mangoes certainly are not local. This box of mangoes happened to be from Mexico, but sometimes, they are not even from the same continent. Then again, neither are the bananas I eat, the cinnamon sticks I use, the many forms of coconut I consume, and the numerous types of nuts and chocolate that make their way into my diet nearly every day. My goal is to strive to eat the foods grown and produced in this region when I can, but to also appreciate and celebrate the wonderful, more exotic foods from time to time. They bring joy, flavor, spice, and transport us to faraway places.
Eating locally to me means modifying my diet with the seasons, consuming more of the foods that grow in my region during each season. I buy local strawberries, tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, and peaches and in the summer. Come fall, I buy my apples and pears from the farmers' market because we are lucky here in Pennsylvania to have the prefect climate for those crops. You will rarely find me cooking with butternut squash in the summer just as you will rarely find me serving a tomato and mozzarella salad in the winter. I think it is important to be aware of what is grown in the region in which we live and to source from there when we can so as to minimize our impact on the environment and reduce our ecological footprint. And frankly, certain foods taste better when they are in season. They reach their peak potential in color, flavor, and texture, and who would not want to take advantage of that?
All of this said, we received a box of mangoes as a gift and are more than happy to put these mangoes to work in the kitchen. This quesadilla is a bit of a different take on the traditional cheese-laden tortilla you often find in Mexican restaurants. It is light with the goat cheese and herbs, floral and sweet with the mango, and a little spicy with the bits of jalapeño. The first time I thought of putting fruit in a quesadilla was when I came across Sara's Strawberry and Leek Quesadillas on her blog, Sprouted Kitchen. The combination was unexpected but like everything Sara makes, it worked.
I save a few steps here without sauteeing leeks as I simply toss fresh scallions and basil from our porch pots and a bit of raw jalapeño atop slivers of mango. Sharp cheddar helps glue everything together and lends a saltiness and richness that pairs well with the lighter, more tangy goat cheese. This comes together in a snap. I thought of adding avocado slices or maybe a handful of black beans to the quesadilla, but I wanted to keep things simple. If you try it with either of those additions, however, let me know how you like it.
Mango and Goat Cheese Quesadilla
2 whole wheat tortillas
2 teaspoons coconut or olive oil, divided
1/3 cup fresh soft goat cheese
1/3 cup grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese
1/3 to 1/2 mango, peeled and thinly sliced
1/3 to 1/2 jalapeño pepper, seeds removed and diced (use more or less depending on spice level desired)
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil
2 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions
Prepare all of your ingredients as the process will go fairly quickly once the tortillas are in the pan. Heat a large skillet or flat-top griddle pan over medium heat. Add the teaspoon oil and swirl to coat. Add one tortilla to the pan. Top with goat cheese (either spread if cheese is the spreadable type or crumble evenly over). Arrange slices of mango on top. Sprinkle evenly with jalapeno pieces, basil, and scallions. Sprinkle cheddar cheese evenly over top, add second tortilla and gently press down to begin to seal top to bottom. Smear top with coconut oil or drizzle with teaspoon of olive oil.
Peak at the underside of the bottom tortilla and when golden, use a large spatula to carefully flip the quesadilla over. Press gently and continue to cook until bottom tortilla begins to brown and the cheddar has melted. Remove quesadilla from heat and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before cutting to allow cheese to set. Cut into slices and serve. Enjoy! Serves 1-2.