Provoleta – Grilled Provolone Cheese

If you love cheese, warm melted cheese that is, provoleta is a must have pre-meat dish for an asado. Provoleta is semi-hard provolone cheese in cylindrical form. For asado it is sliced about 2 cm thick and cooked on the grill until melted with a crispy exterior. Both sides are typically seasoned with a generous amount of oregano or other herbs and spices. A light sprinkling of dried red chili flakes may be included for the brave. The herbs and spices are pressed well onto the cheese in order to prevent them from falling of during the cooking process.

Provoleta

How To Cook

The true method of cooking provoleta is to place it directly on the grill. This method can be quite difficult and takes a bit of practice to master. If done incorrectly, the cheese can melt right through the rack and onto the coals leaving you with a gooey mess on the grill; not fun to clean. If you are quick enough to pull off the grill before it falls, you’ll just have a puddle of melted cheese to serve on the plate. To prevent all of this from happening, you’ll need to let the cheese sit at room temperature for about an hour or more. If you have ever left cheese out for a while, you’ll notice that a dryish skin forms on the outside. This will help the exterior to become crispy while cooking and prevent a huge melting mess. The will need to be very hot with a substantial amount of coals underneath in order to keep that heat and further help the searing process. You can either serve it as is with one side crispy or attempt to flip it. The choice is up to you. Do it right and you’ll end up with an outstanding smoky flavored melted piece of gooey madness.

Barbecued Provoleta

If cooking cheese directly on the grill seems too risky or if you decided to throw in the towel after too many failed attempts, do not despair. You can use one of those small and shallow disposable aluminum pans or create one with foil wrap to cook the cheese. The grill will still need to be super hot but you won’t have to worry about losing the cheese. As easy as it may sound, a little trial and error may still be in order because the cheese may stick to the pan making it difficult to serve. Flipping may be somewhat difficult with this method.

Finally, there is one method that is extremely hard to fail, but is considered cheating. Lightly coat a non-stick frying pan with oil and cook the cheese over medium heat. Flip the cheese when one side gets slightly crispy.

Whichever method you choose, try not to let one side cook for too long. If the cheese develops too much of a crunchy crust it may become slightly bitter and difficult to cut.

Serving

About half of one slice is enough for one person. Eat it plain or along with a slice of crusty bread.

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21 Comment(s)

  1. Great information. I wish my proveleta had come out like your photos, but maybe next time since this was the first try on our parilla. The brand I used was pretty good but it mostly tasted like melted pizza cheese – not as good as what I had at a restaurant last fall in Palermo Soho.

    p.s. popped your link into my blog list

    Laura | Apr 18, 2006 | Reply

  2. 1/2 a slice enough for one person? Not on this planet my friend. Give me two, and then let’s talk about the rest of the asado!

    ;-)

    SaltShaker | May 6, 2006 | Reply

  3. Oh I could go for two also. But…you’ll be hard pressed to find me cooking two slices per person on a grill for 7-8 people. In aluminum foil, maybe, but just isn’t the same. Right on the grill, nooo way, definite path to insanity. That’s what restaurants are for. :)

    Administrator | May 8, 2006 | Reply

  4. That’s a serious chunk of cheese there.

    Gatlinburg Cabins | Mar 3, 2008 | Reply

  5. Try adding some thinly sliced little pieces of ham (you know they love their ham in South America) bacon, and roasted red peppers along with the oregano and chilis. I had it this way in a little restaurant in Montevideo, Uruguay and it was the most amazing provoleta I have ever had (although a bit more fattening thanks to the bacon). This is almost an impossibility to do this directly on the grill because the meats and peppers tend to fall into the grill but it works great if you pan fry.

    beth | Jun 24, 2008 | Reply

  6. I’ve had with ham and roasted red peppers–and stuffed provoleta, but bacon sounds like an awesome addition! Mouth is watering already.

    I have these little stoneware dishes that work really well in the oven for provoleta, especially when you toss them under the broiler for a bit. I think another post on this subject is in order. Thanks for the tip beth!

    Asado Argentina | Jun 26, 2008 | Reply

  7. My wife and I went to an Argentina Steak House in Atlanta, Georgia, USA this week and we had a grilled provolenta with tomato and prosciutto and it was wonderful. We’d like to make it ourselves, but cannot find a source for provolenta cheese here in the Atlanta, Georgia area. Can you recommend a supplier that will ship to the USA? Please respond by email to radiotube@gmail.com

    Thank you for posting this wonderful recipe also!

    Kevin T | Aug 10, 2008 | Reply

  8. It is true that it is a mission impossible to roast the “provoletas” on the grill of a house. But this has a big secret.
    PROVOLETA is not a cheese but a TRADEMARK for more than 40 years which corresponds to a type of cheese called “SPINNING ARGENTINO provolone cheese.”
    Natalio Alba is the man who invented this cheese. He understood that to unify the Italian-Argentine food habits, it was interesting to create a cheese that may accompany the roast (as in Italy provolone cheese is very appealing as is the roast in Argentina ). This cheese started to manufacture it in about 1940 and then with the success recorded PROVOLETA mark in 1963.
    It took several years to find the right spot in the preparation of this cheese so it does not melt when it comes to grilling, and a layer is crispy on the outside and melted a little inside.
    To achieve this, it incorporates the techniques of pulp layer in the preparation of the mass of the Provolone cheese. Thus was born PROVOLETA.

    Peace

    True Asado | Jun 14, 2009 | Reply

  9. My son and I ate at a restaurant in Pasadena called 1810 Argentinean Restaurant… They had a fabulous dish called Pollo al Ajo, which featured grilled chicken breast, caramelized onions and garlic. I have been trying to find a recipe. Any ideas? Thanks!

    Carol | Jun 20, 2009 | Reply

  10. By the way, I loved grilled Provoleta when I visited Argentina in the 1980′s. It was probably my favorite dish. Of course, the dairy products in Argentina were the best I’ve ever had, probably due to the cows having a grass-based diet.

    Carol | Jun 20, 2009 | Reply

  11. Is the cheese developed by Natalio Alba available in the US? Something similar?

    Michael | Jul 1, 2009 | Reply

  12. Another way to “cheat” is baked the provoleta in a cast iron skillet in the oven. There is an “Argentine” restaurant in West Hollywood, Ca called the Tango Grill. They put the provoleta in a cast iron skillet and top it with onions, peppers and herbs and serve with with French bread. They bake it until the bottom is brown and crunchy and the top is gooey and bubbly. It’s quite yummy.

    Hal | Jan 21, 2010 | Reply

  13. Check this one out Hal :)

    Asado Argentina | Jan 21, 2010 | Reply

  14. Simple question: Where can one purchase provoleta cheese, locally or mail order? Even the latino stores here in Northern Virginia only stock provolone.

    Jeff | May 14, 2010 | Reply

  15. Provoleta no es un tipo de queso, es una marca comercial,y como bien dice Es cierto Asado, Natalio Alba fue su inventor. No hay muchos secretos a la hora de prepararla, solo hay que pedir la original.

    Sonia | Nov 8, 2010 | Reply

  16. Yo no sabia cuando escribi el post. Me olvide cambiarlo. Gracias!

    Asado Argentina | Nov 9, 2010 | Reply

  17. My Argentine uncle taught me his method and I’ve made many provoletas since. Not much to add other than…
    1. Brush the seasoned cheese lightly on both sides with olive oil before putting it on the grill.
    2. Make sure the grill is clean before you put on the cheese. You should also brush the grill with oil.
    3. Turn the cheese using a thin spatula brushed in oil. (I know, lots of oil. ;) One sure movement is better than spending a lot of time trying to coax the cheese onto the spatula.
    4. A cooler fire is more forgiving for beginners, but doesn’t make as good a crust.

    Andy | May 24, 2011 | Reply

  18. I enjoyed the shit out of this for lunch. Thank you!

    Big Taco Rubio | Nov 4, 2011 | Reply

  19. Where can I buy this cheese in England please ?

    Jenny | Mar 26, 2012 | Reply

  20. Where can you find a provolera pan in the United States?

    ann | Jun 12, 2012 | Reply

  21. In late October, 2012. Please visit the site. http://www.Quesalera. com
    Artistic plates will be available for purchase in the USA.. Made in the USA!

    Laura | Oct 9, 2012 | Reply

5 Trackback(s)

  1. Nov 28, 2009: from Let them eat steak! | Taxi Gourmet
  2. Feb 27, 2010: from Travel-Stained Life — Foods of Argentina
  3. Feb 13, 2011: from Provoleta « The Picky Nibbler
  4. Aug 4, 2011: from Provoletera Plate: For Gooey Morsels Of Provoleta (or any other cheese) : Asado Argentina
  5. Nov 2, 2011: from Cooking provolone | Flopovos

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