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One Cheese, Five Ways: Hola, Manchego!

Photographed by Jackie Botto

In central Spain you’ll find the birthplace of Manchego in Castile-La Mancha, a region of idyllic pastures dotted with castles and windmills. Made from the milk of Manchega sheep, it is probably the most well-known Spanish export, easily identified by its basketweave rind. This pattern is produced from the grass molds that press into the (inedible) wax rind coating the wheel as it ages. This time-honored method of producing Manchego has been protected with a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) since 1984.

Rich in notes of fruit and nuts, Manchego is often enjoyed as a part of tapas. The tapas tradition, in which a variety of small plates or bites are shared and enjoyed, most often accompanied by wine, originated in Spain and dates back hundreds of years. It can be as simple as a slice of cheese and ham or include more elaborate delicacies. Pour some wine and let your tastebuds travel to Spain with Manchego as the centerpiece of your tapas table.

1.Chorizo and Manchego Stuffed Peppers

Saffron and paprika inspire paella flavors inside these Manchego- and chorizo-filled roasted peppers.

2. Manchego and Marcona Almond Spread

This bright and savory spread can be simply enjoyed on grilled bread or used as a condiment on sandwiches. (It also goes great with the Ham and Potato Omelette.)

3. Tuna Frisée Salad with Citrus-Marinated Manchego and Olives

For this recipe, the Manchego is marinated ahead of time with citrus and herbs. Use a good quality tuna for the best results.

4. Ham and Potato Spanish Omelette

Serve this cheesy omelette for breakfast or as a part of a tapas menu. A 10-inch cast iron skillet is perfectly sized for this dish.

5. Sweet Manchego Empanadas

These hand pies are filled with the classic combination of membrillo (quince paste) and Manchego.

Jackie Botto

Jackie Botto is the food stylist and photographer for the Philadelphia cheese mecca, Di Bruno Bros. and the curator of their blog series, In the Kitchen with Jackie.

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