There are a plethora of cheeses to choose from when you’re trying to come up with a recipe. A cheese often used in Mexican quesadillas is called Queso Oaxaca. Since Queso Oaxaca isn’t easy to come by around here, I decided to get some of my favorites and let them convince me themselves. The contestants are:
These will be judged on two criteria: melty-ness (how well they melt and their melted consistency) and taste. Basically I’ll make one simple cheese quesadilla with each and see how they are.
I bought the cheese in blocks and grated them myself. The Cheddar and Jack grated as expected, but the Queso Blanco was a lot like Feta in consistency and really sort of crumbled rather than grated. Mmmm, feta. One of these weeks is going to be Greek-themed solely to give me an excuse to have feta for five days straight.
I got out my cast-iron fajita pan for this, but you can use any frying pan that’s big enough to hold a tortilla. I set the burner on medium high. Once the pan was heated, I placed a tortilla (I’m using store-bought tortillas for this test) in it and sprinkled some grated Cheddar on half of it.
After a few seconds I folded it in half, then let it cook until the tortilla started browning.
I then flipped it and let the other side cook. I repeated this method with the other cheeses, snapped some photos, and immediately ate them all. Now, for your viewing pleasure, a gallery of melted cheese:
The Monterey Jack, my favorite to win this contest, was very good in the melting department. Surprisingly, it was also rather bland! I suspect that a Pepper Jack, or even a Colby Jack, would fix this issue.
The Cheddar also melted very nicely, but was a little oily. It tasted awesome though, so much so that it won the taste contest hands down.
The Queso Blanco might have melted eventually, but by then the tortilla would have been toast. There are apparently some kinds of Queso Blanco that are better for melting, and the kind that I bought was not one of them. The flavor was very nice. It was salty like Feta, but not as tangy. Unfortunately, Queso Blanco didn’t measure up in this contest.
So, despite my favoritism toward the Jack, my winner in all of this is the Extra Sharp Cheddar. A little oil never hurt anyone! (I ‘m not a doctor.)
Tomorrow, I’m going to put our fresh tortillas and winning cheese together with some new fillings and see if I’ve found a better quesadilla. See you then!