Queso Fresco

Try something new―a Mexican cheese with great flavor.

Queso fresco is the most widely used cheese in Mexican cooking. The firm-textured fresh white cheese (its name translates as "fresh cheese") is slightly salty, with a mild, tangy taste similar to farmer's cheese. Like other fresh cheeses, queso fresco is lower in fat and sodium (despite its salty flavor) than aged cheeses. It's easily crumbled to sprinkle on dishes like enchiladas and tamales, as well as soups like black bean and tortilla. It also makes a tasty addition to cold vegetable salads. And although it softens, it does not melt when heated; queso fresco is classically used in the filling for chile relleños and quesadillas. For a snack, heat some on corn tortillas and top with a dollop of salsa.

Queso fresco is usually made with cow's milk. It is sold in various shapes and sizes, most commonly in rounds, but it may also be packaged in cottage cheeselike tubs. Store leftovers tightly wrapped in the refrigerator, and use within two weeks or by the package freshness date, whichever comes first.