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Dinner Tonight! | THE LIGHTER SIDE

The Shapely Queso

August 30, 2000|DONNA DEANE

Panela is a Mexican cheese that holds its shape when heated. That makes it perfect for this recipe. I like to brown it lightly in a skillet until it's soft inside and serve it on salad greens with a low-fat tomato vinaigrette.

The cheese is made partly from skim milk, so it is a little less fattening. The vinaigrette has just a touch of oil.

Try French bread rubbed with a bit of garlic and toasted on the grill for a great accompaniment. Look for panela cheese among the Mexican cheeses at your supermarket.


Deane's book "Low-Fat Kitchen" includes more than 100 recipes created for this column. To order, call (800) 246-4042. The price is $20.45, including shipping and sales tax.

Browned Panela Cheese on Greens

Active Work Time: 10 minutes * Total Preparation Time: 20 minutes

1 tablespoon minced shallots

1 teaspoon olive oil

2 tablespoons minced seeded tomato

1/4 cup vegetable broth

1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth

1/4 cup water

3/4 teaspoon Mexican oregano

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon lemon juice

4 (1/2-ounce) slices panela cheese

4 cups mixed salad greens

Freshly ground pepper

* Saute shallots in olive oil in small skillet over medium-low heat until they begin to turn golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir to prevent burning. Add tomato and saute until cooked through, stirring, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in vegetable and chicken broths, water and 1/2 teaspoon oregano. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer until liquid is reduced to 1/2 cup, about 5 minutes. Stir in salt and lemon juice. Set dressing aside to cool to room temperature.

* Just before serving, lightly sprinkle cheese slices with 1/4 teaspoon oregano. Add cheese to hot skillet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray and cook over medium-low heat until browned, 1 1/2 minutes. Turn and brown second side, about 1 minute.

* For each serving, place 1 slice cheese on 1 cup salad greens. Sprinkle pepper over salad, and top with tomato vinaigrette.

4 servings. Each serving: 76 calories; 467 mg sodium; 10 mg cholesterol; 5 grams fat; 3 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams protein; 0.45 gram fiber.

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