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Grilled Panela in Roasted Tomato Sauce



Roasted Tomato Sauce: – 2 ounces guajillo chile, stems removed – 1/4 ounce dried chile de arbol, stems removed – 1 quart boiling water – 8 ounces yellow onion, peeled and halved – 3 pounds Roma tomatoes – 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil – 1 ounce garlic, finely chopped – 2 1/2 teaspoons sea salt – 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano Cilantro Oil: – 1 quart boiling water – 2 cups cilantro, rough chopped and packed – 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil – 1/2 teaspoon sea salt Chile-Lime Salad: – 6 ounces baby arugula – 12 ounce yellow and red grape tomatoes, halved – 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil – 2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice – 1 Tablespoons Tajin chile-lime seasoning Grilled Panela in Roasted Tomato Sauce: – 3 3/4 pounds Real California Panela cheese – 6 ounces pickled red onions – 3/4 cup Real California Cotija cheese – 1/4 cup toasted pepitas :Cheese, Hispanic Dairy, Panela, Cotija
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Roasted Tomato Sauce

1. Place guajillos and chile de arbol on a 350 degree F flattop or sauté pan on medium heat and heat each side for approximately 30 seconds, or until toasted.

2. Remove and place in the boiling water. Remove from heat, keeping chiles submerged, and let rehydrate for approximately 20 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, place onions and tomatoes on a well-oiled 350 degree F grill. Cook, turning occasionally, until tomatoes are blistered on all sides and onions are well charred.

4. Drain rehydrated chiles and put them in a food processer or blender with the grilled vegetables. Blend on high until smooth.

5. In a large saucepot over medium heat, add the oil and garlic. Cook until garlic is golden brown, approximately 30 seconds. Add blended veggie/chile mix, salt, and oregano. Simmer for approximately 10 minutes. Keep warm or cover and refrigerate. Reheat for service.

Cilantro Oil

1. Using a mesh strainer, blanch the chopped cilantro in the boiling water for 5 seconds, ensuring it is completely submerged. Remove from water and shock in an ice bath. Drain, ensuring all liquid is removed.

2. Place blanched cilantro, oil, and salt in a food processor or blender. Blend on high for approximately 30 seconds or until smooth.

3. Strain through cheesecloth and reserve the oil.

Chile-Lime Salad

1. Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl and toss until well coated.

Grilled Panela with Roasted Tomato Sauce

1. For each serving: Cut 5 ounces panela cheese in 2 ½-ounce circles, squares, half-moons, etc.

2. Place sliced panela on a 350 degree F flattop or saute pan over medium heat, and cook for approximately 2 minutes on each side, or until well browned and heated through.

3. Ladle 1/2 cup Roasted Tomato Sauce in the center of a plate.

4. Shingle grilled panela in center of sauce.

5. Top cheese with 2 ½ ounces Chile-Lime Salad and ½ ounce pickled red onions.

6. Sprinkle with 1 Tablespoon cotija cheese and 1 teaspoon pepitas.

7. Drizzle plate with 1 Tablespoon Cilantro Oil.

Servings: 12

Chef Notes:

Make sure the chiles get toasted but not burnt. They add a great depth of flavor to the sauce along with the roasted veggies. If you can use wood or wood chips on the grill, even better.

Panela is a versatile cheese. It is a wonderful complement to other items but shines on its own as well. It also pairs perfectly with the salty cotija. It is important to keep panela cold before slicing to help ensure it doesn’t break.

Recipe courtesy Chef Daniel Camp, On the Border