Quesadilla: “Cotija, Cheesed to Melt You”

Ok it’s true Cotija softens more than it melts, but that’s precisely why it’s perfect for Quesadillas. I’m well aware that it’s not a traditional Quesadilla pick, but we’re talking about an American, Norwegian, Irish woman making a Quesadilla for her Italian Husband. Tradition went out the window a long time ago.

So why opt for trying Cotija on your next Quesadilla?

Nicknamed the Parmesan of Mexico, Cotija is a Cow’s milks cheese that grates easily and is irresistibly and addictively salty.

Yep that’s right, it’s salty. Plus, since it softens more so than melts, Cotija helps hold the layers of your Quesadilla and all your fixins’ in place. No more slip in slide as you attempt the flip.

Quesadilla with Cotija
Quesadilla with Cotija

Quesadilla Tips

  • If using meat, heat or cook it just before compiling your Quesadilla so your efforts on the grilling are focused on what the cheese, not the meat needs, which is…
    1. To be grated so it heats evenly
    2. To be brought to room temperature before melting to prevent greasy results
    3. To be heated Low and Slow to prevent the cheese fats from making a run for it
    4. If you crave that stringy result, try mixing Cotija with easier melting cheeses like Colby Jack, Cheddar or Mozzarella
  • When it comes to the oil, use as little as you can get away with
    • Opt for Canola, Tortillas soak oil up and olive oil overpowers the shells flavor
    • Try one large drop in the middle of a tortilla shell, then rub a second tortilla shell together and around (similar motion to warming your hands). This way, you won’t need any oil in the pan itself.
    • Coat the lid of a smaller pot or pan with a thin layer of oil which allows you to lightly and evenly press layers together as the cheese softens.
  • Heat the Pan, then add your first Tortilla, oil side down. Quickly after layer, cheese, meat/veggies and a second layer of cheese topped with the second Tortilla.
  • Half moon Quesadilla’s are always easier to flip, just don’t overstuff it!
  • If using salsa or sour cream, leave it on the side to ensure a crispy shell
  • When cutting, use a pizza cutter and plunk it down mid Quesadilla rolling out
Cotija and Pacifico, Perfection
Cotija and Pacifico, Perfection

While I melt for Cotija, I wouldn’t recommend it for your cheese board, it’s too salty and will override your palate for other cheeses. I would however say, give it a crumble or grate on tacos, beans, corn on the cob, salads and most definitely on a heaping steaming bowl of spicy Chili and yes, if you’re like me when it comes to breaking from tradition, pastas!

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