Cinco de Mayo = party time! And what screams Mexican party food more than a queso fundido?

The definition of queso fundido is molten cheese. It is an old Mexican appetizer (the original version was cheese flambéed which, of course, included booze) that has recently been sweeping the country.

I first stumbled across this appetizer years ago at a Mexican restaurant. Although listed as an appetizer, I ordered it along with a side of grilled green onions. I put some of the cheese and green onions in a corn tortilla, topped it with a spoonful of pico de gallo, rolled the tortilla and ate it. That was my meal. Yum! It was so delicious.

I started thinking about all the possibilities of this fun appetizer that can be a whole meal. Add sausage or chorizo with some poblano peppers or jalapeno peppers and cilantro or spinach. Try it with chicken and tomatoes and onions.

You can use one cheese or three different kinds, but try to stick to cheeses that get stringy when cooked, like monterey jack or mozzarella. But a lot of recipes call for a cheddar cheese or a Mexican cheese like Cotija (very pungent) or Asadero (a sweet buttery melting cheese). Once again the choices are endless.

You can also make it colorful by adding green, yellow and red peppers or using a tomato pico de gallo for color. Create an adult appetizer with a splash of tequila, rum or whiskey.

Whatever ingredients you want to use, the directions remain the same.

  • Cook your choice of meat (usually chorizo sausage or ground beef) and vegetables. If using poblano or chili peppers, roast them first and peel off the skins.
  • If you wish to add alcohol, do so now. Simmer the alcohol for a couple minutes.
  • Choose your baking dish. A small cast iron skillet is best, but you can also use a standard glass or metal dish. You can use a large skillet for group serving, or smaller dishes for individuals. These also allow for crisper edges.
  • Starting and ending with cheese, layer the ingredients into your dish(es).
  • Place in a preheated 400 degree and bake oven until cheese is melted and bubbling.
  • However you make it, just remember to serve it with tortillas. You can use soft tortillas and roll them, or serve with a side of tortilla chips.

Enjoy!