Oh, oh Mexico
Recently, I visited Mexico for the first time and came to the conclusion, as so many before me have, that it is the best place I’ve ever been for cheap and incredibly delicious food. I didn’t have a bad meal while I was there because it was all so fresh and flavorful. As my travel buddy, Kelly, reminded me, everything actually grows here, and that made a big difference. One morning, we had banana slices sprinkled with cinnamon and we were completely enamored with the simple dish because the bananas were SO sweet. One of my favorite dishes was the tlayuda (see picture above.). Basically, it is a toasted or fried flour tortilla topped with puréed beans, refried or black, meats of the stewed variety, chorizo, shredded lettuce, avocado, Oaxacan cheese, and red and green salsa on the side.
Since Kelly and I have been home, we have been craving tlayuda and want to try to recreate a whole feast of our favorite foods. Everything is pretty accessible up here in the North, except the right Oaxacan cheese. Luckily, we can solve this problem for the tlayuda and our other Mexican dishes where cheese is key. With the braised, rich flavors from the meat, and the bright spark from the lettuce and fresh salsas, what this dish really needs is salt and a little creaminess. So, I call two possibilities up to the plate.
1) Raschera - Cow's milk cheese from Piedmont, Italy. Raschera is an easy choice because it is melty, slightly salty, and mild. It won’t take over from the other ingredients, but it also won’t stand out. It’s a good background cheese, which has it merits if we want the other ingredients to be the stars.
2) Granaresu - here's a cheese that's like, “Hey! Hey! I’m here!" This cow and sheep’s milk cheese from Sardinia, Italy is a new favorite cheese that we carry at the shop because it is salty, sharp, and tangy. I’ve snacked on it, very happily, for the past couple weeks, but now I want to pair it and cook with it. It’s like a fun new toy to play with in the kitchen! The Mexicano dish tlayuda is a good place to start because there are so many ingredients in this dish that the cheese needs to come through without overwhelming everything else. Also, I just love Granaresu and want it in my life as much as possible. And I love Mexico, too. Ahhhh vacation.
For the love of cheese and delicious Mexico,
Oh Mexico, it sounds so simple, I just got to go
The sun’s so hot I forgot to go home, guess I’ll have to go now
- “Mexico," James Taylor