The Cheese Whisperer: Mahón’s Historical Queso
An unexpectedly lovely cheese graced my cutting board recently. Mahón (pronounced with a silent “h”) queso arrived in a firm, rectangular slab with a burnt orange rind, rubbed with paprika. I plunged my knife into the rind and cut into a dry, slightly crumbly cheese with incredible caramel color and a mellow, nutty flavor. This is the famous Mahón cheese, named after the port city of its origin and stamped with a seal of authenticity.
Mahón is the capital city of Menorca, a Spanish island in the Mediterranean Sea. Cheese making and agriculture has a long history in Mahón, whose strategically placed harbor was a prized location for many cultures. Ancient Roman farmers imported harvesting tools and cattle, and later the Moors and Ottoman Turks contributed to the island’s wine and cheese making practices.
Mahón remains one of the most versatile cheeses in Spanish cuisine. It is commonly eaten sprinkled with black pepper, olive oil and fresh herbs for an appetizer. Aged Mahon has a chewy texture and somewhat lemony flavor that pairs well with crisp white wines or pilsner beers. Serve grated over sauteed vegetables, potato dishes, risotto or pasta. Try this innovative grilled cheese recipe using fresh ingredients.
Grilled Cheese with Mahón, Tomatoes and Fresh Thyme
1 black olive-studded Breadfarm Bow Hill baguette, sliced lengthwise
Aged Mahón cheese, shredded or sliced
Organic heirloom tomatoes, sliced
Fresh thyme to taste
Black pepper to taste
Sprinkle the sliced baguette with the shredded or sliced Mahón cheese. Grill in oven at 350 degrees F or toast in toaster oven until cheese is bubbling and melted. Add slices of tomato, diced fresh thyme, and black pepper. Serve and enjoy!