Preparation / Directions:
Cheese is an essential ingredient in Mexican and southwestern cooking. In addition to adding flavor and texture, cheese has a cooling effect when combined with chiles. The butterfat in cheese is a better antidote to the blistering sting of a serrano or habanero chile than the glass of water that many people reach for (a little buttered bread has the same effect.).
We use a variety of cheeses in our restaurants and in the cookbook recipes. Some are traditional, including Monterey jack and the fresh white Mexican- style queso fresco. We also use less traditional cheeses, such as Norwegian Jarlsberg, Italian fontina, Danish havarti, asiago, mozzarella, fresh goat cheeses such as Chevrion, Montrachet, or Laura Chenel's California Chevre, and an occasional blue cheese. Any Swiss type can be substituted for Jarlsberg, and Parmesan for asiago. Monterey jack could take the place of fontina, although the flavor will not be the same. Follow your personal preference