Fully Loaded Turkish Grilled Cheese Sandwich (Kumru)

Turkish Grilled Cheese
Kumru
Kumru with kasseri cheese, tomato, sausage, and pickled cucumbers and chiles.Matt Taylor-Gross

This specialty of Çesme, a small beach town in Turkey, is one of the world's great grilled cheese sandwiches, in which the cheese itself is grilled before getting slipped into toasted bread with raw tomato and optional (but highly recommended) toppings of griddled sausage and pickled cucumbers and chiles.

Proper kumru bread is nearly impossible to find outside of Turkey. As a substitute, modify our four-hour baguette into a proto-kumru loaf by shaping the dough into four loaves with sharp tapered ends, running a long slash down the middle instead of on the diagonal, and blitzing the top with sesame seeds. As for the cheese, we recommend sheep milk kasseri over cow for its richer and more pungent flavor. If you can't find kasseri, provolone or Gruyere make worthy substitutions.

Fully Loaded Turkish Grilled Cheese Sandwich (Kumru)
Turkey's take on the grilled cheese is our vote for one of the world's best sandwiches.

Ingredients

  • 1 5-oz. kumru roll or other soft sesame sandwich roll (see note above)
  • 1 tbsp. softened butter
  • 3 oz. sucuk sausage (such as Merve brand), casing removed and sliced 1/8 inch thick
  • 2 14 oz. sheep milk kasseri cheese, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 3 small sour pickle spears (1 oz.)
  • 14 cup pickled hot peppers, sliced 1/2 inch thick on the bias
  • 4 1/2-inch thick slices Roma tomato (1 1/2 oz.)

Instructions

  1. Slice the bread in half lengthwise and spread the inside surfaces with softened butter. Heat a griddle or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat and grill the bread, butter-side down, until it is toasty and browned, about 5 minutes. Remove the roll from the skillet and set aside.
  2. Cook the sausage slices, about 3 minutes per side, until they are crispy, browned, and curled at the edges. Remove the sausage from the pan and place on the bottom half of the kumru roll. Do not discard the sausage grease; it will prevent the kasseri from sticking.
  3. Lay the kasseri cheese in overlapping shingles directly onto the griddle, allowing it to melt and brown in the sausage fat. When it is toasted enough to flip in one piece (about 4 minutes), scrape it up with a metal spatula and continue toasting the other side. About 3 minutes later, lift the fried cheese away from the griddle and place it over the sausage. Top with tomato, pickles, and pickled peppers, tomato slices, and serve with ketchup and mayo if desired.