Argentinean Grilled Provolone (Provoleta)

Italians had a long history of migrating to foreign countries as a way of coping with poverty and dislocation. During the 19th century, more Italians migrated to South America than anywhere else in the world. Italian immigration to Argentina, along with the earlier Spanish “visitors,” formed the backbone of Argentine society. It is estimated that more than 60% of the population of 25 million Argentines have full or partial Italian ancestry.

Provoleta is an Argentine semi-hard variant of the Italian provolone cheese. It is eaten barbecued in Argentina and Uruguay. This Argentinean cheese was developed by a native of Calabria, Italy who migrated to Argentina in the 1940s. He allegedly invented this cheese after sensing Italian Argentines were crying out for a familiar cheese to accompany grilled and roasted meats. Of course the Argentinians would think to toss wheels of this cheese on the grill. The result is this wonderful appetizer.

Provoleta – Argentinian Grilled Cheese Wheel

Argentina's version of Italian provolone cheese is traditionally cooked directly over coals until browned. The appetizer is served with bread to scoop up the bubbling cheese topped with crunchy pepper flakes and fragrant oregano. Home cooks can substitute a slab of hard Italian provolone cheese placed in a cast iron pan to fry, bake, or broil. However it is cooked, this is a great snack just begging to be served with drinks, toasted slices of a nice crusty bread, and even a little chimichurri on the side.
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Course: Appetizer, BBQ, Snack
Cuisine: Argentina, South American
Prep Time: 1 minute
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 6 minutes
Servings: 6
Author: My Hungry Traveler

Equipment

  • Grill (optional)
  • Small cast iron skillet

Ingredients

  • 8 oz 1-inch thick slice of Argentinian provoleta or Italian provolone
  • 1 tbsp Fresh oregano, chopped, or 1 tsp dried
  • ½ tsp Crushed red pepper
  • 1 loaf Baguette, sliced into ½-inch rounds

Instructions

  • Place cheese in a small cast iron pan over medium-high heat. When pan is hot, add cheese and top with ½ of each the oregano and crushed red pepper.
  • Cook until bottom begins to brown, about 2 minutes. Flip cheese over and cook another 2-3 minutes until bottom browns and cheese begins to melt. Sprinkle remaining oregano and pepper flakes over and serve with toasted bread slices.

Notes

  • To make directly on grill, leave cheese overnight on the counter to dry the exterior.
  • The Greek Haloumi cheese is a decent substitute.
  • A dollop of
  •  is a pleasant addition.  

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