If the title "Argentinian Grilled Provolone" has you scratching your culinary cranium, you're not alone. Properly known as Provoleta, this 1940s era appetizer was the brainchild of Natalio Alba, a Calabrian expat. Influenced by his native provola silana and inspired by the grilled meat asado of his new home, Alba created a new type of cheese, Provoleta, that could stand up next to a bounty of chargrilled beef, chicken, chorizo, and pork. When grilled, Provoleta turns crunchy and golden on the outside while melting into stringy, gooey perfection on the inside. Yes, please.
While you won't be able to get Provoleta state side, deli provolone makes for a 10/10 stand-in. Be sure to choose rounds that are at least 1 inch thick to ensure maximum meltiness. Provoletta is commonly served with a bright, garlicky chimichurri, which I've swapped out for a marinade with similar flavors. Equally as good hot and gooey off the grill or at room temperature and cut into wedges, you'll find yourself craving this snack all summer. A word of advice: no one is ever upset about leftovers here.
Happy eating, y'all :)
Argentinian Grilled Provolone
8 to 10 ounce chunk of provolone
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 loaf crusty bread
1 very ripe tomato
Optional: fresh herbs like parsley, basil, or garlic chives
Set out the cheese, uncovered, for 1 hour to allow the cheese to form a skin that will help hold everything together during cooking.
Combine the garlic, oregano, black pepper, and red pepper. Add enough olive oil to make a spreadable paste. Coat the cheese and the olive oil mixture and allow to marinade at room temperature for an additional hour.
Prepare a gas or charcoal grill. Find a spot on the grill that you can hold your hand 6 inches away from the grill for 3 seconds. Place a small cast iron skillet here to preheat, using the same 3 second method. Place the cheese in the preheated pan and cook for 2 minutes, or until a golden crust forms on the bottom. Flip and cook for an additional 2 minutes, then move the pan to a cool spot on the grill (this may be on the second rack of your grill) until the interior of the cheese is all ooey-gooey. Remove from the grill.
If your cheese sets up firm, transfer to a cutting board immediately. Cut into wedges pizza-style. Top with lemon zest, extra black pepper, and fresh herbs, if using.
If your cheese stays gooey, allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving. Top with lemon zest, extra black pepper, and fresh herbs, if using.
While your cheese is resting, cut your loaf of bread horizontally and grill until toasted and a little charred. Cut the very ripe tomato in half and rub all over the bread. Cut the bread as you like and serve with the hot cheese.