Nostalgia is hitting me hard at the moment and I've been remembering some of the old favourite dinners; the ones that sparked joy back in the day and still hit the mark years later. 'Stripey Zebras' were a staple around our dinner table when the children were young - you'll probably know them as quesadillas but that name was a step too far, so we came up with our own.
Honestly, there's nothing fancy or special about these quesadillas - tortillas spread with mango chutney, layered with very thin ham and sprinkled with grated cheese and sliced spring onion. Cooking them on a griddle pan produces the stripes and also heats the insides to create a warm and oozy, melted filling that is, quite honestly, simple but delicious. I don't insist on you using their official name ('Stripey Zebras' may be a step too far for you) but I do insist on you giving these lovelies a try. For the sake of this being a recipe with a name that makes sense, I'm calling them Melted Cheese and Ham Quesadillas but between you and me they'll always be Stripey Zebras. That can be our secret ♡
What ingredients do you need for these Melted Cheese and Ham Quesadillas?
- Tortillas - go for the big ones. I stick to white, mostly because I get feedback otherwise.
- Mango Chutney - it doesn't need to be mango but that seems to be the variety that I'm most likely to have in the cupboard. Using a chutney that has few or no lumps is helpful. A runnier consistency is also good for spreading. I opt for one that comes in a bottle rather than a jar and that seems to tick both requirements.
- Ham - you are looking for the 'wafer thin' type here. When I uttered 'wafer thin' in the iconic style of, "And finally, monsieur, a wafer-thin mint" (from Monty Python's The Meaning of Life), Hella looked bemused. Clearly, I have failed in my parenting. It doesn't need to be ham, but any 'wafer thin' (I've got you doing it now, haven't I?) sliced meat will be fine (turkey, chicken, beef, pastrami etc).
- Cheese - cheddar is what I always have in the fridge but I sometimes add in a bit of mozzarella for that extra gooey melt. Use what you have.
- Spring onions - just slice them and use the whole thing (ie the green and the white parts).
- Olive oil - just a little to brush onto the tortillas.
Other things you might add to these quesadillas
- Perhaps a touch of chilli sauce; I'm fond of sriracha.
- Maybe a few pickled red onions. Let's face it, I add them to everything …
- There's also room for being more adventurous with the cheese.
Here's how you make these Melted Cheese and Ham Quesadillas -
- Spread a large tortilla with a thin layer of mango chutney.
- Cover half of the tortilla with ham - there is no need to be neat or too precise
- Now sprinkle grated cheese and chopped spring onions over the ham.
- Fold over the tortilla and repeat until you've made as many as you need.
- When you are ready to cook the quesadillas, brush them lightly on each side with olive oil.
- Heat up a griddle pan and, when it is hot, place the oiled tortilla on the hot pan - you will probably be able to fit two at a time. Press down with a spatula (this makes sure that the filling melts properly + it guarantees those stripes) and turn over when nicely browned, repeating on the other side.
- Transfer to a chopping board and cut each folded tortilla into 2 or 3 pieces.
What I think you'll love about these Quesadillas
- Doing the prep beforehand is totally feasible. I would prepare up to the end of stage 4 above and then store in the fridge until you're ready to cook ♡
- This is a popular dish right across the generations - from little mouths, through teenagers, to grandparents ♡
- They work brilliantly for a TV dinner or a casual night with a few beers. I would also add some chips ♡
- The quantity can be easily scaled up or down ♡
- Any that don't get eaten (unlikely, but possible) can be gently warmed up in a dry frying pan or griddle the next day ♡
- This is a rough recipe - rough in the sense that precision is not required. It's a prompt more than a recipe - a reminder that sometimes the tastiest, most comforting things come in easy packages ♡
What I've learned about making these Melted Cheese and Ham Quesadillas -
- Don't be tempted to overfill them. If you do, the outside gets burned before the centre is melted.
- If you don't have a griddle you can use a heavy based frying pan instead (although there will obviously be no iconic stripes).
- Still on the subject of stripes, you get the most defined stripes if you resist the temptation to move the cooking tortilla around in the pan.
- When I have prepared too many, I have sometimes frozen them uncooked. It works well.
- When the tortilla is cooked and has been transferred to a chopping board allow it to cool for a minute or so before cutting. If you rush, it's much harder to cut without the filling oozing out.
So there you have it, a rough and ready recipe for a delicious crowdpleaser. I think you're going to like these ♡Print