Have you ever cooked something that just surprised you with how utterly scrumptious it was? This was the case when I prepared this cheese.
I love cheese so much, and as pleasant as it is to sit down to eat a serving French style (as in un plateau de fromages) I love eating it all sorts of ways. Baked cheese can be such a fun and delicious experience, wouldn’t you agree?
Panela cheese is a Mexican firm, fresh cheese that is fantastic for baking, grilling, and frying. You can find it in the Latin food section of most grocery stores. If not you can look for queso blanco, queso fresco, or in a pinch even use feta — really any fresh cheese that doesn’t melt but only softens when heated. The first time I came across a recipe for baked panela cheese was in one of my favourite fiction novels “The Secret Book of Frida Kahlo“ by F. G. Haghenbeck. The recipe is an actual one written and cooked by Frida Khalo — isn’t that cool! It was absolutely delicious, but I started playing with the recipe and it evolved into the herby and spiced version I am sharing with you today.
The first time I prepared this baked cheese for my husband he declared it to be “one of the very BEST foods I have ever cooked!” And still to this day he repeats the same thing. I love him! I will also have to agree on how amazingly delectable this baked cheese is. If it wasn’t such an indulgent dish I would prepare it more often, that’s okay because it’s a great treat for us when we do eat it. It’s great to enjoy alongside some wine, as an appetiser, and it would be excellent at your Christmas and New Years parties.
The recipe can be found my Spicy Food column. Just click the text below.