Thursday, May 10, 2007

Spanish Manchego Cheese and Membrillo Quesadillas - Making a Point with Spain's Most Perfect Pair

What’s the one thing everyone knows how to make (besides toast)? The ubiquitous quesadilla. Even the most culinarily-challenged among us can throw a tortilla in a pan, with some grated cheese, and 5 minutes later are enjoying a warm and satisfying snack. In today’s video recipe clip we will give the common quesadilla a delicious twist by using a classic Spanish fruit and cheese combination.

The cheese we are using is called “Manchego.” Manchego cheese, from the La Mancha region of Spain, is made from sheep's milk. It is aged for at least 3 months, but can be aged much longer for a firmer texture and stronger flavor. It is classified as a semi-firm cheese, which means it grates beautifully and melts nicely. The flavor is a bit tangy, slightly salty, and amazingly delicious paired with the Membrillo.

Membrillo is a very firm fruit paste made by cooking down a fruit called Quince with sugar and sometimes lemon. In the raw form, Quince is too hard and sour to eat. But, as it cooks the fruit’s light yellow flesh turns a sexy reddish ruby color. By the way, the seeds are poisonous, which has absolutely nothing to do with today’s recipe, but just another tidbit of culinary trivia you food geeks can use at a cocktail parties to annoy others.

As far as finding these “exotic” ingredients, I don’t think you are going to have much trouble. Any cheese shop will have several varieties of both Manchego and Membrillo. And, any of the upscale chain grocery stores will also stock these two wonderful products. If you can’t find them where you live, I will try to find some online resources for you and link them here, so stay tuned. Enjoy!

large flour tortilla
2-3 oz of shredded Manchego
2 to 3 tbl of diced Membrillo
1 tsp olive oil


Anonymous said...


Here in Mexico we call that fruit "membrillo" and the paste "ate". So that would be "ate de membrillo", because we have ate made with different fruits. And a typical everyday dessert would be "ate con queso" (ate with cheese, ta-da!). Kind of what you are doing here... Greetings!

Chef John said...


Anonymous said...

Fantastic! I'm trying this for dinner today! have you ever thought about updating the "shakes" area? Like thick mango shakes or strawberry to drink with this mouth watering video. Yes yes.. the ideas are coming to me :)

Chef John said...

I think I'll stick with the food. I dont know if watching me blend fruit would be that entertaning.
Thanks for watching.

Anonymous said...

May 10th - a big shout out to say Happy Mother's Day today, to all the Hispanic moms.

Anonymous said...

Can I be in charge of drinks !o!

Anonymous said... check out my version of the mexican special

Anonymous said...

Nice Recipe. PS. "corazon del sol" for non spanish speaking people actually means Heart of the Sun or Sun's Heart.

Chef John said...

lol, yes i know,that was my attempt at humor. thanks though. ;)

Anonymous said...

I think carazon del sol means heart of the sun in espanol.

Chef John said...

yes,please read previous 2 comments

Anonymous said...

these must be mexican recipes because in spain a tortilla is a omelet made of egg, onion, potato maybe some green peppers.

they didn't get mexican style flour or corn tortillas till the late 80's when mexican food finally made its way to spain. Mexican and Spanish food are about as close as chinese and spanish food are. I am so tired of people giving mexican recipes and calling them spanish.

Leobasita said...

Mmm... I think he was saying that manchego and membrillo are spanish, which in fact, they are! He is using them on a recipe that includes a mexican flour tortilla, not biggie ;)

Chef, just a tip: if you want to pronounce membrillo closer to how we mexicans, pronounce it with the "llo" as you would pronounce the "yo" in yogurth. As it sounds on the clip it's like if you were saying "membrio" :)

Great work with the blog BTW! Amazing recipes that look so easy! Thanks!!!

Alicia (Spain) said...

Chef John, I've been viewing your recipes in youtube for the last week, I don't know, dozens of them, 'cause I love your style, explanations and direct way of cooking. But my joy got to its maximum when I saw this recipe with three spanish ingredients: manchego cheese, membrillo and olive oil. And saying spanish I mean from Spain, not Mexico, Peru or other latin country. I can hardly speak. Let me say that most of the olive oil that is consumed in the world is spanish, specially that so called italian olive oil, which is really spanish olive oil with an italian label!! But this a different story. Congratulations and thanks again!!!

Miss Scorp said...

heart of the sun is
"corazon del sol"
tried this recipe by the way and must say that its gorgeous
:) thank you