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Caribbean Spinach Salad with Cotija

Caribbean Spinach Salad with CotijaA spicy Caribbean-style spinach salad with Roma tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, mango, walnuts, diced pancetta and crumbled cotija cheese, tossed with a honeyed ancho chile vinaigrette, and garnished with Gruyère crisps.

Recipe Ingredients:

10 ounces baby spinach leaves, washed and dried
6 Roma tomatoes, quartered
1/2 large cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 red onion, cut in thin rings
1 cup fresh mango, peeled and diced
1 1/2 cups (about 6 ounces) Wisconsin Cotija Cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup walnuts, broken
2 ounces pancetta, finely diced

1/2 tablespoon zest, and 1/4 cup juice from lemon
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon ancho chile powder

2 ounces aged Wisconsin Gruyère Cheese

Cooking Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. For salad, arrange spinach on plate and top with tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and mangoes. Sprinkle with the cotija cheese, walnuts, and diced pancetta.
  3. For the vinaigrette, whisk together the lemon zest and juice, vinegar, honey, oil, and ancho chile powder. Drizzle over the top of the salad.
  4. Shave the Gruyère into thin 2-inches squares and place them on nonstick baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, until the cheese is crisp. (Cheese bakes into irregular rounds or ovals.) Remove from oven and let cheese cool on baking sheet.
  5. To serve, place 2 to 3 crisps of Gruyère slightly upright onto the center of each serving of salad.

Makes 6 servings.

Recipe and photograph courtesy of Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, Inc.