Matt Entertains: Queso Fundido

By: Matt Armendariz
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Two words: melted cheese. That intersection of cheesy, oozy meltability and crunchy toasted corners can throw us over the edge and for good reason. It's what can make or break a great slice of pizza. It's what we enjoy most about grilled cheese sandwiches. It’s what makes saganaki and haloumi so fun to eat. And where I grew up queso fundido is about as delicious and indulgent as you can get.

Queso fundido is a great start to any gathering. It's satisfying and rich, best enjoyed with the iciest of beers or handmade margaritas. And of course it's excellent with raw vegetables, crunchy corn chips, toasted pita, or even tucked into a warm flour tortilla and rolled up taquito-style.

Garlic, mushrooms, spinach and butter spend a few minutes in a sauté pan and then join shredded cheese before making their way to the oven for a few minutes, giving you just enough time for those margaritas. It really couldn't be easier.

Queso Fundido
(Serves 4)

1 1/2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1/2 cup queso fresco, crumbled (or you could even use feta cheese)
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup spinach, chopped rough and packed tight
3 tablespoons butter + ½ teaspoon for buttering the dish
Salt and pepper, to taste
Tortillas or chips, to serve

Heat oven to 350° Fahrenheit. Put cheeses in a mixing bowl and set aside. In a skillet over medium high heat melt butter and sauté the mushrooms until cooked, 2 to 3 minutes. Add minced garlic and chopped spinach and cook until spinach is wilted and garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat. Pour over cheese, toss to mix.

Place cheese mixture into lightly buttered, oven-safe baking dish, low bowl or casuela. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in heated oven and bake until bubbling and lightly browned on top, 10-12 minutes. Dig in.

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