There was a time, not too long ago, when trying to find a Spanish cheese in your local grocery store was mission impossible. Now with the recent interest in Spanish cuisine in general, and tapas specifically, Manchego cheese can be found in most cheese sections. Quince is a relative of the apple and when cooked down with sugar to a paste it makes a wonderfully sweet foil to the nuttiness of the cheese. Marcona almonds are roasted in olive oil and sprinkled with salt. Tender and sweet, they are addictive.
It’s that easy: Manchego is made in the La Mancha region of Spain from sheep’s milk. Semi-firm, it has a rind that must be cut away and is aged anywhere from 3 months to a year. Try to purchase a young and older cheese so you can discover the difference a few months can make.
Manchego Cheese and Quiche Paste with Marcona Almonds
Start to Finish: 20 minutes
Hands on time: 20 minutes
- 1 1/4 pounds Manchego cheese
- 1 package quince paste or membrillo
- 2 cups Marcona almonds
- 1 orange, cut into wedges as garnish
- Cut cheese into 1/4-inch-thick wedges, discarding rind, and cut quince paste into 1/8-inch-thick slices. Top cheese wedges with the quince paste and arrange on a platter with a scattering of almonds. Serve at room temperature garnished with orange wedges.
- Make-ahead: The cheese and quince can be assembled up to 8 hours ahead, covered in plastic wrap and kept in the refrigerator. Allow 30 minutes for the cheese to come to room temperature before serving.
- In the glass: Look for a Spanish Tempranillo for the perfect red wine accompaniment and for white wine drinkers offer a Chardonnay.