Featured Cheese of The Week: Cotija

4/30/12

cotija

Having a Cinco de Mayo celebration this year?  Or simply looking for some good Mexican-style cheese?  Let us recommend to you the classic cheese called Cotija- pronounced (ko-TEE-hah) a cheese which holds as much prominence in Mexico as Parmigiano-Reggiano holds in Italy.  In fact, this aged, crumbly, salty cheese is typically used in cooking applications much like that Italian stand-by, being grated, shredded, or crumbled into dishes.  A cow’s milk cheese which is named after its town of origin in Michoacán, it is firm with a distinct granular texture, the result of curds being milled to very fine pieces before being molded and pressed.  While the cheese has a very faint sour-milk aroma, almost like feta, its predominant flavor is salty; it is several times saltier than most cheeses (twice as salty as a typical cheddar, for example) making it very fine for cooking.  Cotija’s unique tangy and salty flavor, plus its grainy texture and ability to soften but not melt when heated, enhance tostadas, tacos, beans, soups, grilled vegetables, elote (corn on the cob slathered with mayonnaise, chili powder, lime juice, butter, and Cotija), fresh tomato and avocado salads, and just about any other Mexican or Mexican-inspired dish you can think of.  Enjoy a dark lager or a full-bodied red wine alongside and your taste buds will be dancing!