I like to make quesadillas on my panini press. I typically make two for a meal.
Here is what I do:
- Preheat the panini press to medium-high.
- While heating, assemble the quesadillas.
- I typically add cheese, shredded chicken, bacon bits, and onions. All ingredients are cold, straight out of the refrigerator. The tortilla shells themselves are the only room temperature ingredients, stored in whatever air-tight plastic bag they came in.
- Once the press reports it is heated up, I cook the first quesadilla.
- I remove the quesadilla when:
- The cheese is visibly gooey and just starting to ooze out.
- The top of the quesadilla has dark brown grill marks.
- I then quickly wipe up any food particles with a dry paper towel (surface is non-stick).
- Wait for the press to heat back up, give it an extra 30 seconds or so to be sure it is nice and hot.
- Repeat for the second quesadilla.
What I have found is the first one I make has a nice and semi-crispy tortilla shell: it is hard and flaky, and the ends sag slightly when I pick it up in the middle.
However, the second one will have cheese oozing out and sizzling on the press, but the shell will be soft and droopy. I prefer the texture the other way.
I have tried altering the quantity of cheese, temperature, waiting longer to start cooking the second quesadilla, etc. but it does not matter. No matter what I do, the second quesadilla does not have the same exterior texture of the first one that I like.
I suspect this has something to do with either the moisture content of the tortilla shells, residual moisture on the panini press grates, or the cooking temperature. However, my experimentation has thus far not yielded any answers.
What changes do I need to make to my cooking routine so the second quesadilla comes out with a semi-crispy, hard and flaky exterior?