I own many cookbooks. Many are just eye candy - beautiful photographs and food styling - not much cooking or even inspiration comes from their pages, but there are others that I return to over and over again, always marking a new recipe or idea. It is a silent conversation I have with the author(s): "wow, goat cheese?" "Hmm...you're a smart one Mr. Flay..." You get the idea. These cookbooks are the ones that provide ideas, knowledge, tips and tricks, and inspiration. I have previously mentioned Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill Cookbook especially noting that it provides a wealth of recipes on sauces, condiments, and dips. Every time I returned to this cookbook, I spent a few minutes on page 68 where Queso Fundito with Roasted Poblano Vinaigrette is found. One page for the recipe and one page for the beautiful photo. Mouthwatering!
On a recent dinner party we had, I made it, among many other things. Unfortunately, the queso was gone before I could take a photograph, but I managed to snap a picture of the vinaigrette, which I should add, is one of the best things I have ever eaten. Poblanos are fiery but also sweet and smoky. Roasting or charring them prior to blending makes them even sweeter and spicier, while the process of blending with the rest of the ingredients creates perfectly smooth vinaigrette that you will want to put on everything. It is such a simple recipe and it can be used with queso fundito, as a salad dressing, as a dip for quesadillas, which is what we did with the leftovers.
Roasted Poblano Vinaigrette
2 poblano chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded, and chopped*
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 cup canola oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Combine the poblanos, 2 tablespoons cold water, the vinegar, honey, canola oil, and salt and pepper in a blender or food processor, and puree until very smooth. This can be made up to 8 hours in advance and refrigerated.
*To roast: preheat oven to 375 F; brush peppers with olive oil and season with salt and pepper; place in oven on a baking sheet and rotate until charred on all sides, about 15-17 minutes. Place in a plastic bag and let sit for 15 minutes; peel, seed, and chop.
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
3 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese (12 oz)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 oz fresh goat cheese, cut into 8 slices
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
Corn tortilla chips for dipping
Preheat the broiler.
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and cook until slightly thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the grated Monterey Jack cheese; season with salt and pepper.
Scrape the mixture into an 8-inch cast-iron pan and place the slices of goat cheese over the top. Put the pan under the broiler and broil until the goat cheese is golden brown on top. Remove from the oven, drizzle with the poblano vinaigrette or spoon it over the top, and sprinkle with the chopped cilantro. Serve with chips for dipping.