Monterey Jack: Everything You Need To Know
Today we continue with our exploration of cheeses from around the world with Monterey Jack. Read on to find out what this cheese tastes like and how to use it in your cooking.
What is Monterey Jack cheese?
Monterey Jack is an American semi-hard cow’s milk cheese which has a creamy, buttery flavor. It is very mild in taste. It has a slight firmness to it which resembles Cheddar.
How is Monterey Jack made?
Monterey Jack Cheese was made by the Mexican Franciscan friars of Monterey, California, in the 19th century. Then David Jack, a California businessman, decided that the market for the cheese could be developed. He produced the mild, white cheese that we now call Monterey Jack.
It is made by heating milk with cultures and adding rennet to separate the curds and whey. The curds are drained and pressed into the cheese. A rind forms and oil is added to keep it aging.
It is usually only aged for one month. It can be aged for longer to produce a cheese called Dry Jack. Chili peppers can be added to create a spicy cheese called Pepper Jack. It is mixed with Colby cheese to create Marble Cheese. This looks very striking on a cheeseboard and is sure to have your guests digging in.
How should I eat it?
Monterey Jack Cheese melts very well. This makes it great for grilled cheese or nachos. Its flavor also works very well with Spanish and Mexican dishes.
The texture also makes it suitable for grating over dishes. It is great with roasted chicken, burgers, and steaks. You could even put a piece of cheese into the middle of a homemade burger so that you taste melted cheese when you bite into it. You could also serve cubes or slices as part of a cheese platter. Try it with melons, grapes, pickled vegetables, and olives for contrast and great texture. We also love it sliced and put into sandwiches with bologna or ham.
It is also delicious grated into soups to add savoury flavor and creaminess. It works very well with bread baking recipes. Add it to tear and share monkey bread, flatbreads, or garlic bread. You could even add it to cornbread.
What should I drink with it?
It will go very well with a light white wine such as a Pinot Grigio, Riesling, or Chardonnay. You could even serve something fruity and flavorful such as a Sauvignon Blanc. Light red wines such as Pinot Noir or a Syrah would be excellent if you prefer red wine. It could be excellent with beer as well if you are enjoying a casual evening.
How do you like to eat Monterey Jack Cheese? Let us know in the comments!