Cotija (named after the town Cotija, where it was first prepared) or "aged cheese” - an extremely crumbly prepared from cow milk, is an all purpose cheese, which is granular, salty and completely white, which typically does not melt while being heating. This cheese is quite similar in form and texture to the Mexican Parmesian and is often referred to as Mexicancheese, served as grated topping and sometimes as large slices of cheese to add to texture and flavor of the dish.
History of Cotija
The cheese originated in Mexico where it was mainly produced in the months of July through October, as the cows were fed rich grass easily during this period on the natural grass which grew on the mountainous regions, giving the cheese a unique flavor and color.
Culinary Uses of Cotija Cheese
The cheese is mainly used in its crumbled and grated form as a topping of various salads, soups, tostads and taco. It is also a chief ingredient of Italian cuisine where baked cotija is served as a topping of chicken dishes.
Popular Cotija Recipes
· Cotija cheese lasagna recipe – This is an easy to make lasagna recipe which can prepared within an hour and served with green salad and garlic bread, served as a part of early dinner or lunch.
· Cheese Stuffed Steak Bites Recipe -This is an easy to prepare appetizer in which some cheaper cuts of meat can be used, after marinating them for long period but they can be really tough to flatten.
· Cotija cheese potato recipe- A delicious crumbly cheese recipes prepared with potatoes, used in different forms as per the cuisine and ingredients used in its preparation.
· Cheese and basil sausage stroganoff recipe- Cream cheese and basil leaves are used to prepare this cream cheese recipe, making it a healthy food.
· Mexican Cheese salad – This is a rich classic recipe which is prepared with fresh vegetables, fresh cream sauce, baked ham and meat and spiced up with grated cheese, sprinkled just on top of the dish and served as an evening dish.
Cuisines Using Cotija
Mexican and American cheese is used in many dishes, mostly as a topping in its grated form and also used as large slices of cheese.
Preferable Cooking Methods For Cotija Cheese
Cooking involves the milling of curd into small pieces just before pressing and aging it. When the cheese is cooked, it slowly softens and slowly changes its shape and consistency. Baked cheese, pan fried and steamed cheese is some of the uncommon ways to include the ingredient as part of daily diet.
Nutritive Value of Cotija:
One oz serving of this cheese is loaded with 10g of fat, 6g of saturated fat, 12 calories, 480mg sodium, 1g of carbohydrates, 7g of fiber and without any fiber content.
Cotija Buying/Storing Tips
This needs to be purchased in large blocks or in small rounds. While purchasingthe cheese, check for its pungent smell – the chief characteristic feature of this cheese.