Sunday, August 19, 2012

Fresh Cheese with Papaya-Chipotle Salsa

On the way home from running all our errands Saturday, it started raining; and raining hard.  We are so thankful for this liquid refreshment from heaven.  That was around 2:30 in the afternoon and it didn't let up much throughout the evening.  This is such a blessing for us since we have been so hot and dry in the DFW area.

Lovey and I enjoyed  the pitter patter of the rain and the soft rumbling of thunder all afternoon.   We threw open a couple of windows and kept the music and TV off while we read and relaxed.  Lovey read and for me, relaxation was puttering around in the kitchen.  Since we had a heavy burger lunch we decided to go light for this evening.

It's Beach Bum week at I Heart Cooking Clubs and although it was far from beach-y weather in Fort Worth yesterday, I threw together this cheese and fruit salsa snack for dinner since we had a heavy lunch.

I saw Rick Bayless create this dish beachside on his PBS show.  I made it last month when I hosted our neighborhood book club and decided then it was definitely one I'd make again.  So I did.

Here's what we're working with.  Whole milk panela cheese, Mexican papaya, avocado, red onion, cilantro, chipotle in adobe sauce and lime juice.

Slice the cheese and shingle the slices on a serving platter.

Dice up the papaya, avocado, onion, cilantro and chipotle.  If you are an observant individual you will have noticed that the chipotles are not in this mixing bowl.  If you are a really observant individual, you will recall from past recipes that Lovey does not like the heat of chiles.  So, I left them off today.  But let me tell you, it is F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S with the chipotle.  The heat of the chipotle just knocks the flavor of the avocado and papaya up to a whole other level.  So, please, use the heat!

Gently toss all of the ingredients and mix in the lime juice.  I would suggest doing this by hand as the ripe avocado and papaya can be bruised being tossed around by a spoon.  Taste and season with a little salt if you feel it needs it.

Spoon the salsa down the center of the cheese and serve with tortilla chips or pita chips.

Notes:  This serves more than 6 people when you serve it as hors d'oeuvres (you can also slice the cheese down the center after it's shingled on the platter. Because of the avocado, it doesn't do 'leftover' very well.

Fresh Cheese with Papaya-Chipotle Salsa
Serves 6
Adapted from Rick Bayless' Season 8 Mexico - One Plate at Time

12 ounces whole milk panela cheese
1/4 of a ripe Mexican papaya

1/2 small red onion
1 ripe avodado
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1/4 cup (loosely packed) chopped cilantro
1 to 2 canned chipotle chile en adobo
Crisp-fried corn tortillas

Mise en place:

  • slice the cheese in 1/4 to 1/2-inch slices
  • peel and seed the papaya and cut into 1/4-inch pieces (you should have about 2 cups)
  • chop the onion into 1/4-inch dice
  • cut off the thick bottom stems of the cilantro and chop
  • seed and finely chop the chipotle (you might want to use food gloves)
  • pit the avocado and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
Place the slices of cheese on a serving platter, shingling them on top of another. In a bowl, gently mix together the papaya, onion, avocaod, cilantro, chipotle and lime juice.  Taste and season with salt, usually 1/2 teaspoon.  Spoon the salsa down the center of the cheese.  Serve with tostadas.

I'm sharing this at IHCC  


  1. This is lovely! Have not tried papayas in salsa before, love the combination of ingredients!
    We finally had some rain last night and this evening, after a dry spell of three weeks!

  2. Oh my, this looks delicious! What a great appetizer. Give me that platter with some bread and I wouldn't even need the main course!

  3. That salsa looks amazing--love the color and the idea of pairing the papaya and avocado in it. Yum! ;-)