Roasted cheese with salsa is very similar to preparing queso fundido. The difference is that most times the queso fundido is more focused on the cheese aspect of the dish. In this recipe, the cheese is also important, but as important is the roasted salsa that goes on top of the cheese. The more traditional way to prepare this recipe is with queso panela. It’s a soft, salty cheese good for crumbling or grating and often used as a garnish for enchiladas or tacos. My favorite way to enjoy the queso panela is to simply place the slices in a pan of simmering spicy salsa served with fresh bolillo rolls. You could do that as well, but the oven method saves space on the stove top and you could roast several dishes with a variety of salsas. In this post, I share with you two versions of Roasted Cheese with Salsa.
Yields 6 to 8 servings
For the Salsas:
5 Roma tomatoes
1 white onion, sliced into thick rings
2 jalapeño peppers, stems removed
2 serrano peppers, stems removed
10 chile de arbol
2 cloves garlic or granulated garlic powder
1/3 cup cilantro
Salt to taste
You Will Also Need:
12 oz Mexican queso panela, sliced
6 oz queso asadero Oaxaca or queso blanco for preparing dip, diced or shredded
*any good melting cheese, such as Monterey jack or Muenster cheese will work as well
6 oz Chihuahua cheese, diced or shredded
Tips~ The broiler method is a much quicker way of roasting your salsa ingredients. Just remember to never leave the broiler unattended for any length of time. It’s always a good idea to preheat the broiler for a few minutes.
Tips~ If preparing your recipe with queso panela, I would suggest pressing the sliced cheese gently with a few clean paper towels to remove some of the excess liquid. The liquid will release during roasting and create too much water in the dish. The queso panela is the one topped with tomato salsa.
Suggestions For Toppings and Serving:
1 cup cooked Mexican chorizo
1/3 cup cooked bacon bits
1 large poblano pepper, roasted and sliced into rajas (strips)
1 avocado, diced
1/2 cup pickled red onions
Corn tortilla chips
Tips~ Both of these recipes are best served right out of the oven while they are warm, otherwise the cheese will harden as it cools. I suggest a nice, sturdy serving spoon to serve.
1. Preheat broiler to high while you prep your salsa ingredients. Line a baking sheet with foil paper. On one half of the lined baking sheet, fit another piece of foil paper and fold all sides up. Slice the tomatoes, tomatillos lengthwise and place skin side up on side with extra foil. This will keep the juices from getting the chiles and onion from becoming saturated. On the other half place the peppers including poblano, if using, skin side up and sliced onion rounds.
2. Drizzle all with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place pan 10 inches below broiler and broil for 15 to 18 minutes, removing the chile peppers after 10 minutes. Place the poblano in a bowl covered with plastic wrap to steam and cool. Place the chile de arbol in a small sauce pan with boiling water and cook for 10 minutes, set aside. When ready remove the salsa ingredients from oven and let cool. Remove the blistered skins from poblano, slice into thin strips and set aside.
3. In the blender, add the tomatillos, jalapeños, serrano, 1/2 of the onion, 1/3 cup cilantro, 1 clove garlic, half of the liquid released from tomatoes/tomatillos on pan and salt to taste. Pulse to blend for a more coarse salsa or blend on high for a smoother salsa. Pour into serving dish, set aside. Rinse the blender and add in the tomatoes, drained chile de arbol, remaining onion, remaining tomato liquid on pan, garlic and salt to taste. Blend on high until smooth and pour into serving dish.
4. Preheat oven to 400ºF. In one baking dish, layer the queso panela down the center. Pour half of the red tomato salsa over the top/center and down the sides. In the other baking dish, spread out evenly, the queso asadero (or good melting cheese) and Chihuahua cheese. Pour half of the salsa verde over the top/center. Place both on a baking sheet and transfer into the oven. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes or until the cheese is melted. The queso panela will get very soft, but it will not melt like the other cheese. Broil for just under 1 minute. Remove from oven and garnish with suggested toppings. There is no set way to garnish, it is your choice or you could let people garnish individually. Serve with chips or warm tortillas and extra salsa.
Roasted Cheese with Tomatillo Salsa