Actually, to be completely accurate, it’s Provel processed cheese food product. It’s a fundamental component of St. Louis cuisine right along with toasted ravioli, Ted Drewe’s frozen custard, baked mostaccioli (pronounced “musk-a-cho-ley”) and Provel-topped Imo’s Pizza, that of thin crust and square slice fame.
What exactly goes into Provel processed cheese food product one might ask? Why, pasteurized cheddar, Swiss and provlone cheeses along with smidgens of various food industry additives.
So what then makes it so good? Its vaguely Italian-esque flavor infuses every oozy globule. An important benefit of its gooeyness is it provides a “clean bite,” so no worries about stringy strands clinging to pizza slices and baked pastas.
Having secreted away a two-pound container of extruded Imo’s brand Provel on my last trip home we’ve been enjoying Provel in any number of tasty dishes.
Such as this egg-topped Provel quesadilla, a completely hoosier-worthy breakfast, lunch or rolling-in-after-a-night-in-East-St. Louis snack. (FYI “hoosier” is the St. Louis catch-all for anyone or anything deemed low-rent, red neck, white trash or hillbilly.)
For those who would like a recipe, here it is:
Provel Cheese Quesadilla with Eggs Recipe
2 flour tortillas, each buttered on one side
small handful of Provel cheese
5-6 pickled jalapeno slices
2 eggs, whisked
1 scallion, chopped
Place a tortilla butter side down in a non-stick frying pan. Distribute the cheese on the tortillas, keeping a 3/4″ margin clear to avoid ooze-outs. Arrange jalapenos on the cheese and top with the second tortilla, butter side up.
Cook on medium heat until the bottom tortilla is browned and slightly crunchy. Carefully flip over and cook on the second side. Remove to a plate, keep warm if you can.
Turn the heat up to medium high. Put a nice dab of butter in the pan, add the chopped scallions and cook for a minute. Pour in the eggs, add some salt and pepper and cook, stirring with a spatula to keep it from developing hard chunks.
Cut the quesadilla into wedges. Top with the eggs and finish with a liberal squiggle of ketchup.
Note: pizza cutter makes neat work of this enterprise. My pizza cutter sees far more quesadilla action than pizza work. I bet yours will too.