, its origins and its uses
Cotija Cheese: A Primer on Mexico’s Authentic Cheese
If you’re a fan of Mexican cuisine, you might already be familiar with Cotija cheese. As an ancient regional specialty, Cotija is a unique variety of cheese that is unique to Mexico—and one that shouldn’t be missed!
Origins of Cotija Cheese
Cotija cheese, which is also known as queso Cotija [Coh-TEA-ha] is a crumbly, salty cheese made from cow’s milk. It originates from a small town of the same name in the state of Michoacán, Mexico and is thought to date back to pre-Hispanic times. In fact, this cheese is so popular in the region that a song has been dedicated to it!
The particular type of cheese we know today was created by a cheese maker in the 19th century who wanted to bring a local cheese to market. This cheese maker set to work stirring whole cow’s milk over an open fire, which created the salt-cured and aged Cotija that people still enjoy today.
Uses of Cotija Cheese
Cotija cheese is one of the most popular and versatile dishes in Mexican cuisine. It is most often used just before serving a dish as a topping or garnish. It is also used to add flavor, texture, and color to dishes such as tacos, quesadillas, enchiladas, salads, pasta dishes, and soups.
Thanks to its briny taste and ability to stand up to high temperatures, Cotija is often added to cooked dishes as well. It makes a great base for regional casseroles and is sometimes even used to spice up grilled recipes, such as fish and shrimp. The cheese is also a favorite of street vendors selling tacos, salads, and chicharrón.
The cheese is also incredibly versatile in terms of its texture. Cotija can easily be crumbled, grated, or melted, making it ideal for all sorts of recipes.
Health Benefits of Cotija Cheese
Cotija cheese is a traditional Mexican cheese and is naturally made with no preservatives or chemicals. As such, it is a much healthier option than many other cheeses—particularly processed varieties.
This cheese is a good source of calcium, making it a great choice for those looking to increase their calcium intake. In addition, Cotija cheese also contains healthy amounts of manganese, selenium, phosphorus, and zinc.
Cotija cheese is undoubtedly a must-try item in Mexican cuisine. The cheese has a unique flavor, which is salty, savory and slightly nutty, and is incredibly versatile in terms of its uses. From topping tacos to adding flavor to casseroles, Cotija cheese is sure to make any meal stand out. And because it is a natural cheese with no added chemicals, Cotija can also be enjoyed without any guilt!