The 2 Unexpected Ingredients Aarón Sánchez Adds To Queso Fundido - Exclusive

It's impossible to go wrong with a cheese dip, and queso fundido is one of the best. Queso fundido is a delicious baked melted cheese. Unlike the popular Americanized queso, which is soupier, queso fundido is all about being gooey, stretchy, melted cheese.

If you're already sold on this dish, we don't blame you. Aarón Sánchez described it in an Instagram post as one of his favorite snacks. It even appears on the menu at his New Orleans restaurant, Johnny Sánchez, where it's topped with chorizo and rajas (roasted poblano peppers). Although these are fairly conventional toppings, Sánchez is not constrained by tradition. In an exclusive interview, he told us some surprising ingredients he likes to add to his queso fundido. 

Sánchez's first pick is huitlacoche, a fungus that grows on corn. While relatively unknown in the U.S., in Mexico, it's considered a treat that's sometimes referred to as the "Mexican truffle." The mushroom offers a sweet, earthy flavor with musky notes. 

Sánchez also says, "I love kimchi in my queso fundidos." Kimchi is a Korean dish made of fermented vegetables, typically including cabbage, and it can include extra spices and flavor. The result is a tangy and often spicy side or condiment. We can see why Sánchez enjoys this culinary fusion. The combination of queso fundido and kimchi perfectly blends rich and creamy cheese with crisp and pungent veggies.

Tips for making queso fundido

There's a lot one can do with queso fundido, and that's part of its appeal. Aarón Sánchez says this versatility is part of why he loves it. You can make it traditional or mix it up with your own favorite toppings.

Sánchez encourages people to make their own and see what they like, and he has a few tips to get you started. First, Sánchez suggests getting a cast iron skillet. Cast iron is a great heat conductor and will keep your cheese warm and melty after cooking. Additionally, cast iron is oven-safe. Sánchez specifies the pan should be small. You only need a pan large enough to fit your cheese, as it will spread as it melts. Finally, Sánchez recommends heating the pan before putting your ingredients in, as this will cut down on cooking time. 

Of course, some thought has to be put into the star of the show: cheese. Sánchez recommends using a blend to achieve the best result. He favors Mexican cheeses such as chihuahua or Monterey Jack with some provolone mixed in. "Then don't be afraid to top it with another cheese as the garnish, like queso fresco, or cotija, or something like that." Sánchez specifies that these finishing cheeses don't need to be baked but can be added at the last minute. And how can you go wrong with more cheese?

Keep up with the latest from Aarón Sánchez at his website.