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!
How to make grilled cheese:
1. Heat 1 tablespoon salted butter in a cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium-low heat.
2. Press the sandwich slightly and place it in the skillet. Cook until golden on the bottom, 3 to 5 minutes.
3. Flip, adding more butter to the pan if needed, and cook until the other side is golden and the cheese melts, 3 to 5 more minutes.
1. Classic Sandwich: 2 slices cheddar, Monterey Jack or Swiss cheese between 2 slices country white bread; cook, flipping once, until golden.
2. Bacon and Tomato: Make Classic Grilled Cheese (No. 1), adding 3 slices crisp bacon and 1 slice tomato between the cheese.
3. Triple Cheese: Make Classic Grilled Cheese (No. 1), using 1 slice each Cheddar, Muenster and Swiss cheese.
4. Spicy Nacho Sandwich: 2 slices white bread with 1 slice Monterey Jack or American cheese, some pickled jalapeno slices and 1 slice cheddar. Cook, flipping once, until golden.
5. Crunchy Nacho: Make Spicy Nacho Grilled Cheese (No. 4), adding 1 tablespoon crushed corn chips with the jalapenos.
6. Goat Cheese–Peppadew: Mix 1/2 cup cream cheese with 1/4 cup goat cheese and 8 chopped Peppadew peppers. Sandwich one-quarter of the mixture between 2 slices multigrain bread; cook, flipping once, until golden. (Use the remaining cheese mixture for more sandwiches.)
7. Grilled Cheese Fingers: Make Classic Grilled Cheese (No. 1). Cut off the crusts and cut the sandwich into strips.
8. Diner Sandwich: 2 slices American cheese between 2 slices white bread. Spread mayonnaise on the outside of the sandwich and cook, flipping once, until golden. Serve with ketchup.
9. Spicy Diner Mix: 1 tablespoon mayonnaise with 1/4 teaspoon Sriracha. Make Diner Grilled Cheese (No. 8), replacing the mayonnaise with the spicy mayonnaise mixture.
10. Cheddar and Pickles: Make Diner Grilled Cheese (No. 8), replacing the American cheese with aged white cheddar and adding sliced pickles between the cheese.
11. Havarti and Chicken Salad: Sandwich 2 slices potato bread with 1 slice Havarti, 2 to 3 tablespoons chicken salad and another slice of Havarti. Cook, flipping once, until golden.
12. Garlic Ham and Cheese: Prepare 2 thick slices frozen garlic bread as the label directs. Sandwich with 2 slices each Monterey Jack and ham. Cook, flipping once, until golden.
13. Pesto: Spread pesto on 1 slice white bread. Top with 1 slice each Provolone and Mozzarella. Top with another slice of bread and cook, flipping once, until golden.
14. Avocado: Toss 1/4 sliced avocado with lime juice and lime zest to taste. Sandwich 2 slices white bread with 2 slices pepper jack and the avocado. Cook, flipping once, until golden.
15. Potato Chip: Spread yellow mustard on 1 slice whole-wheat bread; top with 2 slices American cheese and 8 potato chips. Top with another slice of bread and cook, flipping once, until golden.
16. Swiss-Mushroom: Spread 2 slices rye bread with Thousand Island dressing. Sandwich with 1 slice Swiss cheese, some sautéed mushrooms and onions, and another slice of Swiss. Cook, flipping once, until golden.
17. Bagel Spread: a split bagel with mayonnaise and spicy mustard. Sandwich with 1 slice Muenster, 2 slices salami and another slice of muenster. Cook, flipping once, until golden, pressing to flatten.
18. Cajun Sandwich: 2 slices country white bread with 2 slices Provolone. Cook in butter with a pinch of Cajun seasoning.
19. Muffuletta: Make Cajun Grilled Cheese (No. 18), adding 1 tablespoon deli olive salad between the cheese.
20. Roasted Tomato: Toss 4 halved plum tomatoes with 1 tablespoon olive oil, and thyme, salt and pepper to taste. Roast at 350 degrees F, 1 hour; mash. Spread 2 slices sourdough bread with one-quarter of the tomato mixture and sandwich with 2 slices cheddar. Cook, flipping once, until golden. (Use the remaining tomato mixture for more sandwiches.)
21. Blue Cheese and Onion: Sandwich 2 slices marble rye bread with 1 slice each muenster and soft blue cheese, some caramelized onions and another slice of muenster. Cook, flipping once, until golden.
22. Italian: Sandwich 2 slices sourdough bread with 1 slice provolone, 1 slice mortadella, some chopped pickled vegetables and another slice of provolone. Cook, flipping once, until golden.
23. Fontina and Sage: Fry 4 sage leaves in a skillet in butter and olive oil until crisp. Sandwich 2 slices crusty bread with 2 slices fontina and the fried sage. Cook in the same skillet.
24. Mediterranean: Spread baba ghanoush on 2 slices whole-grain bread. Sandwich with 1 slice monterey jack, a few thin slices grilled zucchini, 2 tablespoons crumbled feta and another slice of monterey jack. Cook in olive oil.
25. Gruyere and Sauerkraut: Spread dijon mustard on 1 slice crusty bread. Top with 2 slices gruyere, 1 tablespoon sauerkraut and another slice of bread. Cook, flipping once, until golden.
26. Roast Beef and Brie: Spread 2 slices sourdough bread with dijon mustard and brie (remove the rind). Sandwich with some caramelized onions and 1 slice roast beef. Cook, flipping once, until golden.
27. Inside-Out Bun: Sandwich 1 slice each pepper jack and Swiss cheese on an inside-out seedless hamburger bun. Cook, flipping once, until golden.
28. Patty Melt: Cook a thin hamburger patty to medium doneness. Sandwich an inside-out seedless hamburger bun with 1 slice cheddar, the hamburger patty and 1 slice American cheese. Cook, flipping once, until golden.
29. Hot Dog: Halve a hot dog lengthwise; brown in a skillet. Spread a hot dog bun with ketchup and mustard, then sandwich with the hot dog and 1 slice American cheese. Cook, flipping once, until golden, pressing to flatten.
30. Meaty Macaroni: Spread 3 tablespoons warm macaroni and cheese on 2 slices potato bread. Drizzle with hot sauce and sandwich with ¼ cup warm pulled pork. Cook, flipping once, until golden.
31. Spanish Olive Sandwich: 1/4 cup grated manchego cheese and 1 tablespoon sliced green olives between 2 slices white bread. Cook, flipping once, until golden.
32. Fig and Olive: Make Spanish Olive Grilled Cheese (No. 31), spreading the bread with fig jam before building the sandwich.
33. Bacon-Waffle-Cheddar Sandwich: 2 thawed toaster waffles with 1 slice cheddar, 2 slices crisp bacon and another slice of cheddar. Cook, flipping once, until golden. Serve with maple syrup.
34. Egg in a Hole: Cut out a 2-inch round from the center of 1 slice country white bread; place the bread in a hot buttered skillet and crack an egg into the hole. Cook until the white sets, then flip and top with 1 slice cheddar. Meanwhile, add another slice of bread to the skillet and top with 1 slice cheddar and 3 slices crisp bacon. Sandwich the two halves and cook until golden.
35. Pear-Camembert: Spread 2 slices multigrain bread with camembert (remove the rind). Sandwich with thin pear slices. Cook, flipping once, until golden.
36. Ham–Apple Butter: Spread 1 slice country white bread with apple butter and another with dijon mustard. Sandwich with 1 slice Swiss cheese, 1 slice ham and another slice of Swiss. Cook, flipping once, until golden.
37. Hawaiian: Spread 2 slices Hawaiian sweet bread or challah bread with pineapple preserves. Sandwich with 2 slices each monterey jack and ham. Cook, flipping once, until golden.
38. Taleggio and Broccoli Rabe: Sandwich 2 slices crusty bread with 2 slices taleggio and some sautéed broccoli rabe. Cook in a mixture of butter and olive oil.
39. Ricotta-Garlic: Mix 1 cup shredded mozzarella, 1/2 cup ricotta, 1/3 cup grated parmesan, 1 small grated garlic clove, and salt to taste. Sandwich 2 slices sourdough bread with one-quarter of the ricotta mixture and cook, flipping once, until golden. (Use the remaining ricotta mixture for more sandwiches.)
40. Fried Mozzarella: Whisk 1 egg and 2 tablespoons milk in a shallow dish. Mix 1/4 cup flour and 2 tablespoons grated parmesan in another dish. Sandwich 2 slices white bread with 2 slices fresh mozzarella. Dredge in the flour mixture, then dip in the beaten egg. Cook, flipping once, until golden.
41. Open-Face Cutouts: Cut shapes out of sliced white bread using a cookie cutter. Cut matching shapes out of sliced cheddar. Broil the bread until lightly toasted, then flip, top each with a piece of cheese and broil until the cheese melts.
42. Open-Face Caprese: Broil a split ciabatta roll until lightly toasted. Drizzle with olive oil and top each half with 2 slices tomato and 2 slices fresh mozzarella. Broil until the cheese melts. Top with chopped basil.
43. Pizza Spread: 2 slices Italian bread with marinara sauce and sandwich with 1 slice provolone, 2 slices pepperoni and 1 slice mozzarella. Cook in a mixture of butter and olive oil.
44. Open-Face French Onion: Broil baguette slices until toasted. Top with caramelized onions and shredded gruyère; broil until the cheese melts. Top with chives.
45. Open-Face Pastrami: Spread Russian dressing on 1 slice pumpernickel bread. Top with a few slices pastrami and 1 slice Swiss cheese. Broil until the cheese melts.
46. BBQ Roast Beef: Spread 1 slice country white bread with 1 tablespoon barbecue sauce. Top with 2 slices each cheddar and roast beef, then top with another slice of bread. Brush melted butter on the outside of the sandwich and cook on a grill, turning, until golden.
47. Truly Grilled Cheese: Toss 1 thick slice haloumi cheese with olive oil and chopped oregano. Rub 1 thick slice crusty bread with garlic and brush with olive oil. Cook the cheese and bread separately on a grill, turning, until marked. Rub the bread with a halved tomato and top with the cheese; sprinkle with salt and lemon juice.
48. Brie and Marmalade: Spread 2 slices cinnamon-raisin bread with orange marmalade. Sandwich with 2 slices brie (remove the rind) and cook, flipping once, until golden.
49. Creamy Quince: Spread 2 slices brioche with quince preserves; sandwich with 2 slices triple-cream cheese, such as Saint André, or brie (remove the rind). Cook, flipping once, until golden.
50. Nutella and Banana: Spread 1 slice challah bread or brioche with ricotta; spread another with Nutella. Sandwich with sliced bananas and cook, flipping once, until golden.
Something warm for lunch: straight-from-the-oven ham and cheese turnovers.
- 1 1-pound package refrigerated pizza dough
- 8 ounces deli ham, thinly sliced
- 4 ounces Swiss cheese, thinly sliced
- 1/2yellow onion, cut into thin rings
- 2 teaspoons whole-grain mustard
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small head romaine, torn into pieces
- Heat oven to 400° F. Roll the pizza dough into a 14-inch circle and cut into 8 triangles.
- Stack a slice of ham and cheese and some onion on the bottom of each triangle and roll the dough up around the filling. (Some will stick out the ends.)
- Transfer the rolls to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until golden and crisp, about 20 minutes.
- Combine the mustard and oil in a medium bowl and toss with the romaine. Serve with the turnovers.
Cheddar cheese and horseradish give an ordinary roast beef wrap some bite.
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
- 4 large flour tortillas
- 1 head romaine lettuce, tough ribs removed
- 8 ounces thinly sliced deli roast beef
- 4 ounces Cheddar, thinly sliced
- In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese and horseradish. Spread evenly over each tortilla.
- Layer the tortillas with the lettuce, roast beef, and Cheddar and roll up.
Try these on a cold winter Sunday: red pepper–flaked scones made with buttermilk and Swiss cheese.
Crispy tacos get a fresh mix of pinto beans and Cheddar.
- 1 15-ounce can pinto beans, rinsed
- 3/4 cup mild salsa
- 1 heart of romaine
- 8 taco shells
- 1 cup shredded Cheddar
- In a small microwave-proof bowl, combine the beans and ½ cup of the salsa. Microwave on high until hot, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Tear the lettuce into bite-size pieces.
- Divide the taco shells among 4 plates. Divide the bean mixture among the taco shells and top with the lettuce, Cheddar, and remaining ¼ cup of salsa.
Swiss cheese, eggs, and prosciutto are sandwiched together in a crisp, golden Panini.
- 8 large eggs
- kosher salt and black pepper
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 soft rolls, halved lengthwise
- 8 ounces prosciutto, thinly sliced
- 8 ounces Swiss cheese, thinly sliced
- In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
- Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Pour in the eggs and scramble until cooked through.
- Divide the eggs among the bottom halves of the rolls. Top with the prosciutto and cheese and sandwich with the tops of the rolls.
- Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in a grill pan or large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Place two sandwiches in the pan.
- Cook, pressing often with a spatula or placing a pan on top to weigh down the sandwiches, until cheese has melted and bread is golden, 4 to 6 minutes.
- Repeat with the remaining sandwiches.
Monterey Jack melts into scrambled eggs spiced with salsa.
- 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 10 eggs
- 2 tablespoons milk or water
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese
- 3/4 cup salsa (drained)
- 1 cup crushed tortilla chips
- Heat butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Pour into the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, to desired doneness, 4 to 5 minutes, adding cheese just before they’re set. Fold in salsa and chips.
This tangy, oozy dish is loaded with Swiss cheese.
- 3 eggs
- 3 cups buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 2 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch slices
- 2 pounds Granny Smith apples (unpeeled), cut into 1/8-inch slices
- 1 pound Swiss cheese, shredded
- 1/4 pound Parmesan, grated
- Heat oven to 400° F.
- Coat a 3 1/2-quart casserole with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, thyme, salt, and pepper; set aside.
- Arrange a layer of slightly overlapping potatoes in the casserole. Cover with a layer of apples and sprinkle with a third of each cheese. Pour a third of the egg mixture on top. Make 2 more layers.
- Bake, covered, 1 hour, 15 minutes. Remove cover and bake another 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Remove from oven. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Everything but the kitchen sink goes into quesadillas finished off with Cheddar or Monterey Jack.
- 1 15.5-ounce can black beans, drained
- 1 11-ounce can corn kernels, drained
- 3/4 cup salsa, drained
- 18-count package large flour tortillas
- 1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded Cheddar or Monterey Jack
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- juice of 1 to 2 limes
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 head romaine lettuce, sliced 1 inch thick
- Heat oven to 400° F. In a medium bowl, combine the beans, corn, and salsa. Place 4 tortillas on a parchment- or foil-lined baking sheet.
- Sprinkle the tortillas with half the cheese. Using a slotted spoon, top with the bean mixture. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese; top with the remaining tortillas.
- Bake the quesadillas until the cheese has melted, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the onion, cilantro, salt, pepper, lime juice, and oil. Add the lettuce and toss.
- Cut each quesadilla into 6 wedges. Serve with the salad.