Serious Eats: Talk
Dreams of Queso, Realities of Separating Cheese
I am in love with cheese dips when I eat at your basic Mexican restaurants, especially the kind that have refried beans on the bottom. It's a serious guilty pleasure of mine. When I lived near a Harris Teeter they sold some cheese that said on its label that it was for melting and making hot queso dip, and I shamelessly bought it and it produced perfect results (it was a white cheese and otherwise had Spanish on the label, so I'm not talking about anything even close to Velveeta here). I now no longer live near HT but I am sandwiched between a Whole Foods and a great local grocer who sells a fair amount of Mexican cheeses.
Can someone please recommend what type of cheese I should be buying, and exactly how I should be melting it? My latest attempt was buying Oaxaca cheese and trying to melt it covered and with a splash of milk in the microwave, which is how I used to melt the HT kind. As you can probably predict, this resulted in a stringy, not really melted, separated mess that hardened into cheese brick. Oaxaca in the oven produced the same result. I don't know why I'm being such an idiot about this but please SE'ers, show me the queso light here.