Cheese sandwich (Kellage)
April 21, 2010 • Category: Eggs/Dairy/Cheese, Sandwiches
This simple and delicious sandwich is one I associate with summers in Lebanon, sitting by the pool with my friends Jacqueline and Anne-Marie Bassoul and the rest of the gang; we would order it every single day after a swim. Crispy and gooey with the softened white cheese inside, our Lebanese quesadillas!
What type of cheese to use?
Halloumi or Nabulsi for stuffing your quesadillas.
What is halloumi cheese? It is a hard white cheese, originally from Cyprus.
What about nabulsi? It is a cheese from Palestine (Nablus), with a very similar texture to halloumi; it is made in Turkey as well.
They can be eaten as is; but the best way is fried in some butter, or stuffed in bread and fried in butter.
I know what you are thinking! What about diet, cholesterol and all these other very depressing and annoying topics! I am not saying go ahead and snarf a dozen of these! (moderation)
Where can you find these? Middle-eastern grocers for one, but I have seen halloumi in American supermarket chains as it is fast becoming mainstream!
The neat thing about these cheeses is that you can freeze them for a few months and defrost at room temperature or in the microwave.
If the cheese is too salty for your taste (it is for mine) then just soak it in a bowl of fresh water and change the water often, until the taste of salt has receded; it could take from 15 minutes total to 2 hours of soaking and changing the water.
This sandwich required an extra-thin pita bread; if the pitas available are rather thick, then use flour tortillas instead.
INGREDIENTS: 3 to 4 servings
- 6 small and thin pita breads or flour tortillas
- Halloumi cheese or Nabulsi
- Clarified butter as needed
- One or two large tomatoes
- some mint
- Soak the cheese if you find it too salty: Place the cheese in a bowl of fresh water and change the water every 15 minutes until the saltiness is gone.
- Pat dry and slice the cheese in thin slices; Insert the slices in the opened pitas and press firmly.
- Melt 1/4 cup of clarified butter; heat for 3 minutes till frothy and slide the pita in the skillet. Let it fry for 3 minutes then flip on the other side and fry for two more minutes.
- Remove from the skillet onto paper towels and pat the excess butter out; transfer to a cutting board and slice in triangles, about 4 per person. Serve piping hot with some fresh tomato quarters.
NOTE: The cheese is not going to melt into a soupy mess; it will soften but keep its texture.
52 Comments • Comments Feed
This sounds really delicious! I am a big fan of haloumi so I’m going to try this soon!
On April 21, 2010 at 9:26 am
These sounds delicious Joumana. I don’t know about the other cheese how it tastes but I don’t find any similarity of mozarella and halloumi.
On April 21, 2010 at 9:43 am
Sushma Mallya says:
Simple & delicious Quesadillas…looks beautiful as well
On April 21, 2010 at 9:44 am
These quesadillas are seriously so delicious and kid friendly.After one bite of this nablusi cheese you’re in heaven, my husband is always melting cheese in pita and they go almost immediately.We are very fortunate we have all these middle eastern cheeses here in L.A. Karoun brand makes a great nablusi cheese with specs of black seeds inside and for haloumi whole foods and trader joe always carry it. This is a winner among everyone Joumana. Thank you
On April 21, 2010 at 10:11 am
Lebanese quesadillas looks awesome and thanks for sharing, i learn many new dishes from u..
On April 21, 2010 at 10:15 am
Halloumi is such a delicious cheese! I love kellage!!
On April 21, 2010 at 10:33 am
This looks like a wonderful version of quesidillas. I love haloumi so I have no hesitation about trying this. I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings…Mary
On April 21, 2010 at 11:43 am
Angie's Recipes says:
Don’t see Haloumi here…but I guess mozzarella will do too?
This sounds like a great weekend meal!
On April 21, 2010 at 12:41 pm
I definitely can eat this everyday. Sounds delicious!
On April 21, 2010 at 12:58 pm
Delicious. Nice tip about soaking salty cheese.
On April 21, 2010 at 1:15 pm
Kate at Serendipity says:
Thanks for the explanation about the cheese. I have read about haloumi, but haven’t looked for it here in Belgium. I’ll have to find some now to make these!
On April 21, 2010 at 1:50 pm
Ohhhh, these look fantastic! Pure comfort food! I’ll be keeping a weather eye open for halloumi cheese for sure!!
On April 21, 2010 at 2:08 pm
I obviously would opt for Halloumi in my order of this snack. Any chance of hitting a beach or are you a poolside gal?
Thanks for the tip on reducing the salt in Halloumi as I’ve encountered this on occasion.
On April 21, 2010 at 2:44 pm
Bria @ WestofPersia says:
That is a great tip about soaking the cheese to get rid of the excess salt. Good stuff all around, as always 🙂
On April 21, 2010 at 2:49 pm
These quesadillas sound phenomenal! Halloumi is one of my favorite cheeses and it sounds fantastic in quesadilla form. I completely agree, everything in moderation. 🙂
On April 21, 2010 at 5:09 pm
Sarah Galvin (All Our Fingers in the Pie) says:
Halloumi cheese is one of my favourites. I like grilling it and squeezing some lemon juice on. I’ll have to try quesadillas. Check my blog tomorrow for a surprise.
On April 21, 2010 at 8:04 pm
Thank you for stopping by the blog. Glad I read your informative and well-written post. Look forward to following you here. Cheers!
On April 21, 2010 at 9:00 pm
Ooh I love quesedilla. And just cause it’s Labanese version of it, it looks so cool. 🙂 Yum!
On April 21, 2010 at 10:06 pm
love quesadillas…I have tried looking for halloumi but have not found it yet..I’ll try harder for this recipe
On April 21, 2010 at 10:42 pm
love halloumi especially when it’s cooked on a barbecue! i like the idea of adding it to a quesadillas type of dish! perfect!
On April 22, 2010 at 12:39 am
That would be perfect for my backyard garden snack with my friends. Look very delicious.
On April 22, 2010 at 2:38 am
Amy @ cookbookmaniac says:
Haloumi is one of my favourite cheeses. I am always looking for different ways to use it. I never thought to use it in quesadilla, but now that I have seen this it makes complete sense. yummy.
On April 22, 2010 at 3:39 am
I will be looking out for that haloumi cheese in future. Thanks.
On April 22, 2010 at 3:40 am
oum mouncifrayan says:
toujours des belles choses chez toi!!! bravo
On April 22, 2010 at 3:46 am
Not Quite Nigella says:
Mmm I love anything with halloumi in it. It’s quite scary the amount of halloumi I can eat-people ahve suggested I go in a halloumi eating contest! What a lovely dish! 😀
On April 22, 2010 at 4:25 am
I have been meaning to try halloumi for a while now because whenever I see it around the blogs, it sounds so delicious. These quesadillas sound just perfect after a day at the pool!
On April 22, 2010 at 5:19 am
This cheese is new to me but it sounds and looks totally delicious!
On April 22, 2010 at 6:00 am
A little fat goes a long way. These Lebanese quesadillas look like they are well worth the splurge. I am very tempted to make them. Love salty cheese.xo
On April 22, 2010 at 6:13 am
We love quesadillas in this house!!!What a delicious version.
On April 22, 2010 at 8:31 am
Nour El-Zibdeh says:
I love this cheese Joumana!
But I’m sorry I have to do this and add my nutrition 2 cents: tip from a dietitian: toast them in the oven if you don’t want the extra fat 🙂
On April 22, 2010 at 9:48 am
une magnifique recette j’en prends note
On April 22, 2010 at 10:08 am
j’avais déjà un grand faible pour la cuisine du Moyen-Orient.
Avec toi, ça va devenir la passion totale.
A très bientôt.
On April 22, 2010 at 10:27 am
Wow, these really sound great!
On April 22, 2010 at 10:57 am
que de bonne recettes, merci et continue de nous épatter.merci
On April 22, 2010 at 11:58 am
I love halloumi cheese — so delicious! I love the freshly sliced tomato on top too. These look like a perfect poolside snack. Thanks for creating wonderful visions of the upcoming summer!
On April 22, 2010 at 12:34 pm
Never had either of the cheeses you have listed so now I am on a mission to find them! I always use cheddar and parmesan in my quesadillas. Love your blog! 🙂
On April 22, 2010 at 4:54 pm
I’ve been a bit shy about trying halloumi cheese (not a cheese person), but when I travelled in Turkey last year, the cheese offered at the hotel buffet didn’t have that ‘stinky’ cheese quality, so it was really nice on some nice, crusty, Turkish bread. 🙂
On April 22, 2010 at 5:15 pm
5 Star Foodie says:
I love the idea of the quesadilla with halloumi cheese, definitely a must try!
On April 22, 2010 at 6:17 pm
mmm haloumi is a new love – love this way of using it!
On April 22, 2010 at 7:16 pm
On April 23, 2010 at 3:02 am
quesadillas are my favourite and i have never used halloumi but was in fact thinking of trying it out..this sure has given me confidence..
On April 23, 2010 at 3:36 am
Chef E says:
Man your shots are making me drool! I have yet to have this cheese, but have to try. We have no Mediterranean places in my area, and I am not sure I could find it, but seeing this and the next post I know what I want this weekend!
On April 23, 2010 at 4:50 am
These quesadillas sound wonderful!
On April 23, 2010 at 10:57 am
salut joumana ton petit sandwich me fait tres tres envie bizz de Paris ensoleillée Pierre
On April 23, 2010 at 11:06 am
Sigh. I love halloumi, but it is SO expensive around here! I wonder if nabulsi is less so? I don’t know that cheese, I will go on the hunt. This dish looks great – I would never stop eating it!
On April 23, 2010 at 2:23 pm
I love Nabulsi, no other cheese like it. When I have nothing to eat, I will always put together a “quesadilla” like this, with mint, cheese, pita, tomato, and olive oil. Simple yet amazing.
On April 26, 2010 at 12:38 pm
Wow , didn’t realize there was such a thing as Lebanese quesadillas.Thought they were just eaten in Mexico.
On April 27, 2010 at 4:05 pm
Simple et tellement bon !
On May 3, 2010 at 3:40 pm
I love nabulsi cheese. I recently discovered it and love just eating it with side of tomatoes. Love your quesadilla version!
On October 1, 2010 at 5:06 pm