On any trip to Mexico City, I look forward to my first visit to any of my usual taquerías. Not only because I need to satiate my appetite for tacos (read: stuff myself to practically the point of no return), but also because I get an order of chicharrón de queso while I wait.
It’s a delicate, crunchy salty treat—the name basically translates to cheese cracklings.
For years, I never considered making my own chicharrón de queso. Not because I thought it was too hard, but because I don’t have a flat top griddle like the taquerías do. I thought the hot griddle was the key to the texture and the high heat was responsible for the ability to mold it; but one day I had a nagging craving that forced me to experiment and I discovered it can be done at home in an easy way that doesn’t sacrifice any of the things that you’d expect from a good chicharrón de queso.
Some notes: this recipe is for large individual sized portions (two people can easily share one). To make them larger to share with a group, just use additional cheese.
You need to use Gouda cheese for this recipe; choose an economically priced piece that is soft enough to grate but not hard enough that it crumbles. Gouda is a semi-hard cheese and the more aged it gets, the harder it gets, and the more the flavor is intensified. So you want something kind of in the middle. The one I used here was an inexpensive double cream Gouda from Trader Joe’s. You’ll want to keep a paper towel handy so that if it gets a little too greasy during or after baking, you can just absorb the grease by lightly dabbing.
RECETA | RECIPE
CHICHARRON DE QUESO
- 1/2 cup finely grated Gouda cheese per person
- Parchment paper
- Toaster oven or oven broiler
- A drinking glass for forming the shape
Spread the grated Gouda loosely over the parchment paper in the shape of a circle or a rectangle with rounded edges. Put it on a stable cookie sheet or other flat surface for baking. If you’re cooking it in a toaster oven, put it on the lowest rack; if you’re using an oven broiler, put it on a high rack if using the low broiler setting or middle rack if using the high setting. You don’t want it to be too close to the heat source because as the cheese bakes under the heat, it’ll get a bit greasy and may splatter a little. If you notice that happening, it’s a good time to remove the cookie sheet and dab with a paper towel.
The cheese should all melt together and bake until the edges are crispy looking and slightly browned. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and while it’s still hot, gently bend the parchment paper into a cylinder and put it in the drinking glass to let the shape dry and set for a few minutes. Then, gently peel away the parchment paper and serve.
- Do you have any memories of your first time eating chicharrón de queso? Have you ever made it at home? If not, will you now?