Fried Mexican cheese with epazote and tomatillo sauce: Queso frito con salsa de epazote y tomate verde
This recipe is a house specialty at Chialingo's restaurant in Cholula. It makes a good appetizer for a Mexican dinner, or could be served with a salad as a light lunch or supper. Epazote goes particularly well with cheese dishes and mushroom dishes, and is indispensible in Oaxacan mole verde.
It has become easy to find in US cities, and with all the mail-order and Internet sources for plants and seeds, there is no reason for any interested cook not to use this important Mexican culinary herb.
For the sauce:
- 4 cups water
- 1 lb tomatillos
- 1/2 medium white onion, peeled and chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- 4 serrano or jalapeño chiles, seeded or not, according to taste
- 4 sprigs epazote, leaves removed from stems (about 1/4 cup leaves)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- salt to taste
Place the water, tomatillos, onion, garlic and chiles in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil, and cook until the tomatillos are soft, about 10 minutes.
Remove the boiled ingredients from the saucepan, and put them in the blender with the epazote leaves and just enough of the cooking water to permit easy movement of the blender blades.
Puree till smooth.
Heat the oil in another saucepan, add the blended ingredients, and cook for 10 minutes.
Gradually add the remaining cooking water until the sauce reaches desired consistency; it should be medium-thick.
Taste for salt.
For the cheese:
- 8 slices Chihuahua cheese, 1/4" thick
- 2 beaten eggs
- 1 cup dry bread crumbs
- vegetable oil for frying
Dip each slice of cheese in the beaten egg, then in the breadcrumbs.
Place the cheese slices on a rack for 15-20 minutes; this will make the crumbs adhere better.
Do not refrigerate during this time, since cold food soaks up more oil when being fried.
Heat the oil in a large skillet, until just moving but not smoking.
Fry the cheese slices, turning once, until golden brown on both sides.
Serve immediately with the epazote and tomatillo sauce spooned over.
Serves 8 as an appetizer.
A guide to Mexican cheeses: Recipes