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How to Make the Kalua Pig and Sweet Onion Quesadilla from Merriman’s Kapalua

A local favorite from Maui that will make you wish you were staring at a classic Hawaii sunset.

October 8, 2020
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Kapalua pig quesadilla
Insert a GIF of Homer Simpson drooling here. Steve Czerniak/Merriman’s Hawaii

It’s hard to imagine visiting any restaurant on Maui and not wanting to sit outside so you can enjoy, well, everything. That’s certainly the case for a Hawaiian institution as beloved as Merriman’s at the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua, where guests can sip Mai Tais and eat incredible meals while adoring the amazing panoramic views of Kapalua Bay. Oh, what we wouldn’t give to make that sentence a reality right now.

Of course, given everything that’s been happening, you won’t find any inside seating here right now. In order to adapt to the new norms of social distancing and health protocols, all Merriman’s Hawaii locations have embraced the Outdoor Grill concept, offering guests mouth-watering specials and incredible seasonal delicacies. Open daily from 4-8 p.m., Merriman’s Outdoor Grill is still big on views and some of the best food and drink you’ll find anywhere in Hawaii.

The good news is that Hawaii will soon reopen for tourism with a new pre-travel testing program, so it won’t be long before some of us are once again enjoying the many things we love about the Aloha State. For others, it’ll still be a while before we return. So, the very least we could is share this recipe for one heck of a quesadilla from Merriman’s. All you need to add is a fan so you can pretend you’re feeling that sweet Kapalua Bay breeze.

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Merriman’s Kapalua’s Kalua Pig and Sweet Onion Quesadilla

Ingredients for the Quesadillas:

  • 8 (8-inch) flour tortillas
  • 2 oz fresh goat cheese
  • 12 oz Kalua pork, including onions
  • 8 oz shredded white cheddar cheese
  • 4 oz freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Ingredients for the Mango-Chili Dipping Sauce:

(Makes about 3/4 cup)

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  • 1 mango
  • 4 oz rice wine vinegar
  • 1 oz granulated sugar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 tsp sambal oelek

How to Make the Quesadillas:

  • Preheat the oven to 400° F. Use the roast or convection bake setting, if available.
  • Place 4 tortillas on a baking sheet. Spread 0.5 ounce (1 tablespoon) of the goat cheese onto each tortilla.
  • Follow with 3 ounces (3/8 cup) of Kalua Pork, 2 ounces of the cheddar and 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of the Parmesan, spreading each layer uniformly.
  • Top each stack with another tortilla to form a sandwich and compress lightly using the flat of your hand.
  • Bake quesadillas for 6-8 minutes, until cheese bubbles and top of the tortillas are lightly browned. Use a wide spatula to lift each quesadilla onto a cutting board and cut into 6 pieces.

How to Make the Mango-Chili Dipping Sauce:

  • Peel mango and cut into half-inch dice. Place half the chopped mango into a bowl, blender, or food processor and puree.
  • Transfer mango puree into a small bowl.
  • Place 1 ounce of the puree back into the blender. Add vinegar, sugar, garlic, cilantro and sambal.
  • Blend with 3 short pulses, followed by 2 (3-second pulses). Place in a bowl and add 1/4 chopped mango.
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