Cheez, I’m happy - cheese happy! And the reason for my cheese happiness is that I have finally found queso fresco in the stores now with Apetina’s recent launch. No longer do I have to spend time and energy on thinking which cheese to use instead of it in my Mexican cooking.
Queso fresco is a pure white, fresh cheese made of cow’s milk, and very essential to Mexican cuisine. However, you shouldn’t limit it to only tamales or tacos because its qualities make it a perfect choice for many kinds of different dishes. The cheese is soft and milky with a very mild taste. It is creamy without being too rich; some type of cross-breed between feta, ricotta and farmer’s cheese, I’d say, if I had to look for an equivalent in the world of cheese. Yet, a very unique cheese, indeed.
Apetina Queso Fresco is extremely mild also when it comes to the saltiness, which is a pretty good (and healthy) thing. It holds its shape well when fried, so you can even use it as you would use halloumi. In Mexican cuisine it is most often crumbled on top of dishes. The milkiness in the flavour neutralises and balances the taste of hot chili in the food. It contrasts nicely with some of the heavier dishes in Mexican cuisine, like enchiladas but compliments lighter foods like salads and vegetables, too.
So what are my personal favourite uses for queso fresco? Let’s start from the very beginning: there has to be some crumbled queso fresco on every taco I ever eat. It is also my favourite finalising touch on top of soups, whether we are talking Mexican-style black bean soup or just ordinary creamy vegetable soup. As it will not change into long stretching strands when heated, it is excellent for quesadillas as well. Everything that can be filled with cheese and then fried is queso fresco-friendly if you are looking for that warm, soft cheesy feeling. Cut in cubes, slices or triangular shapes and fry it until crispy, then toss into your salad or buddha bowl. Next on my to do list, though, is the all American cheesecake. Yes, exactly, with queso fresco!
For more tips and tricks on Mexican cooking, you may also read my blog post here.