Mexican Cheese Crisps (Chicharrónes de Queso)
Iain Bagwell
Yields 6 Servings Cook Time 1 hr 15 mins
AuthorJimmy Shaw, ¡Lotería! Grill, Hollywood

Blocks from Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, the Hollywood location of ¡Lotería! Grill wows guests with chicharrón de queso shaped into a golden pyramid. Executive chef Jimmy Shaw and team cook the Mexico City-style treats on a giant griddle; for guaranteed success at home, we baked smaller versions on parchment. Shaw says to think of them like a huge version of the toasted cheese you get when your grilled cheese sandwich or quesadilla spills onto the griddle. You can break it off to use as a chip, crumble it into a tortilla, or add it to a salad.

How to Make It

1

Preheat oven to 350°. On a piece of parchment paper big enough to line a rimmed baking sheet, draw a 10-in. circle with a pencil. Make 5 more and put all 6 aside. Set baking sheet in oven until hot. Combine cilantro and onion in a small bowl.

2

Set 1 piece of parchment paper on a work surface, pencil side down. Evenly scatter 1/2 cup plus 2 to 3 tbsp. cheese over circle (it won’t be covered completely). Chill remaining cheese. Remove baking sheet from oven and carefully set parchment paper with cheese on top.

3

Bake cheese until bubbling and starting to brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Scatter 2 tsp. cilantro-onion mixture on top. Rotate pan 180° and continue to bake until chicharrón is an even deep gold, 4 to 4 1/2 minutes more. Remove pan from oven.

4

Quickly blot fat from chicharrón with a paper towel. Slide a wide spatula under chicharrón to loosen all the way to center. Lift it with spatula and, using tongs, fold in half so edges meet; then gently fold in half again into a loose party-hat shape. If not yet crunchy, briefly hold in air with tongs, then stand it up on a cool baking sheet.

5

Repeat to make more chicharrónes, using a hot baking sheet and fresh piece of parchment for each one; to save time, stagger a second batch to go into the oven just after you sprinkle the first with cilantro-onion mixture.

6

Serve with salsas, guacamole, and tortillas if you like.

MAKE AHEAD Through step 5, cooled, draped with foil, and chilled up to 1 day; recrisp in a 300° oven until slightly warm, 45 to 60 seconds (no longer, or they’ll collapse).

Ingredients

 2 tbsp coarsely chopped cilantro
 2 tbsp finely chopped white onion
 12 oz cold Monterey jack cheese, coarsely shredded (don’t buy pre-shredded; it won’t melt evenly), divided
 Pico de gallo, salsa verde, and guacamole, for serving
 Corn tortillas, for serving (optional)

Directions

1

Preheat oven to 350°. On a piece of parchment paper big enough to line a rimmed baking sheet, draw a 10-in. circle with a pencil. Make 5 more and put all 6 aside. Set baking sheet in oven until hot. Combine cilantro and onion in a small bowl.

2

Set 1 piece of parchment paper on a work surface, pencil side down. Evenly scatter 1/2 cup plus 2 to 3 tbsp. cheese over circle (it won’t be covered completely). Chill remaining cheese. Remove baking sheet from oven and carefully set parchment paper with cheese on top.

3

Bake cheese until bubbling and starting to brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Scatter 2 tsp. cilantro-onion mixture on top. Rotate pan 180° and continue to bake until chicharrón is an even deep gold, 4 to 4 1/2 minutes more. Remove pan from oven.

4

Quickly blot fat from chicharrón with a paper towel. Slide a wide spatula under chicharrón to loosen all the way to center. Lift it with spatula and, using tongs, fold in half so edges meet; then gently fold in half again into a loose party-hat shape. If not yet crunchy, briefly hold in air with tongs, then stand it up on a cool baking sheet.

5

Repeat to make more chicharrónes, using a hot baking sheet and fresh piece of parchment for each one; to save time, stagger a second batch to go into the oven just after you sprinkle the first with cilantro-onion mixture.

6

Serve with salsas, guacamole, and tortillas if you like.

MAKE AHEAD Through step 5, cooled, draped with foil, and chilled up to 1 day; recrisp in a 300° oven until slightly warm, 45 to 60 seconds (no longer, or they’ll collapse).

Mexican Cheese Crisps (Chicharrónes de Queso)