The only thing better than cheese is melted cheese. Especially when the cheese in question is paired with sweetly contrasting fruit and a hot-off-the-stove, crisp tortilla. If you’ve ever had a fruit quesadilla, you know what I’m talking about! The fact that I finally got my hands on tetilla cheese makes this open-faced riff on a grilled cheese sandwich all the tastier. Tetilla is a traditional cow’s-milk cheese from the Galician part of Spain. What makes it really stand out, though, is that it looks like what its name implies: a human breast.
Each time I went to Spain, I looked for this cheese, but somehow I just couldn’t find it, not even in Barcelona’s famed La Boquería market. (Perhaps it had sold out by the time I got there?) It’s long been on my list of Cheeses I Want To Try. So I finally bit the culinary bullet and ordered tetilla from La Tienda, a stateside store that specializes in a dizzying array of Spanish cheeses and meats and olives and seafood and anything else you can think of.
The verdict: tetilla is a lovely cheese! It’s nutty, rich, and ideal for melting. All that said, though, you could substitute another creamy, meltable cheese for this savory/sweet tortilla “sandwich.” If you’d like to keep it Spanish, opt for Mahón cheese, or even Cabrales or Valdeón if you’re a fan of blue cheeses. If you’d rather go with an American cheese, Monterey Jack is an eminently creamy and meltable option. No matter what you choose, you can’t go wrong with fruit and cheese!
Melted Cheese & Pear Tortilla
Heat a whole-grain corn tortilla in a small pan over medium-low heat (no need to use any oil) for about 5 minutes, flipping over the tortilla halfway through. The goal is to wind up with a nicely toasted but not burnt base for your cheese. Remove the tortilla to a waiting plate and top the tortilla with sliced pears. Place minced green onions and sliced or grated tetilla, Mahón, or Monterey Jack cheese in the still-hot pan and melt the cheese over low heat. Pour melted cheese and warm onions onto the pear-topped tortilla and serve immediately. Makes a great lunch or appetizer.
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