When I think of Spain I instantly think of three things: Manchego cheese, Membrillo and Padron peppers. These classics are classic for good reason, and even though we like to seek out new things this recipe reminds us not to forget the basics. These ingredients combine into two of my favorite tapas: sautéed Padron peppers, and membrillo-Manchego toast. So this month’s recipe was a very natural experiment for me: throw them all together with a couple of my own personal touches to make a simple, sweet, salty, spicy, rich treat. I used this method in lieu of a classic skillet grilled cheese because Manchego is not the best melting cheese. It does best grated finely and melted under direct hot heat. This recipe serves one!
¼ lb Manchego, finely grated (preferably using microplane)
1 handful Padron peppers
1 Serrano chili
¼ lb Membrillo (aka Quince Paste)
1 olive batard (I like the Acme)
- Pick stems from the Padron peppers.
- Heat pan at high heat, add olive oil, add peppers and salt and sauté until they are nice and charred.
- Cut two slices of bread (thickness depends on your taste).
- Heat another pan over medium high heat and add butter. When the butter has melted, add bread and toast one side to golden brown. Remove from pan and set on paper towel to blot.
- Cut thin slices of the membrillo and place on one of the butter-toasted pieces of bread (on the side not toasted).
- Grate Manchego cheese over the membrillo.
- On the second piece of bread grate Manchego directly onto the bread (on the side not toasted).
- Cut thin round slices of Serrano Chili and sprinkle these evenly over the Manchego.
- Cover the Serrano chili slices with the whole charred Padron peppers.
- Turn on the broiler.
- Place both pieces of loaded toast under the broiler and melt cheese until slightly brown.
- Pull bread out of oven and combine the slices to make a sandwich.
Unfortunately this will be my last cheese recipe for now, as I have to say a bittersweet goodbye to the Bi-Rite community. I bought a one-way ticket to Europe to continue educating myself and venturing through the world of cheese, wine and culture. This will be an incredible trip but i will miss everyone very much; whenever I come home Bi-Rite will be one of my first stops. Thank you for entertaining my cheese recipe ideas…now you can look forward to the recipes continuing with another member of the Cheese and Wine team!
Zivio! Cheers! Salute! Yamas!