Provoletera Plate: For Gooey Morsels Of Provoleta (or any other cheese)

Cheesy Provoleta with Oregano and Aji Molido

Here is a tip. If you spot an unfamiliar object, just make assumptions about its purpose. Do not allow curiosity to get the better of you. There is no need to dig deeper by searching for a label or, say, seeking out someone more knowledgeable. When finally stumbling upon its true purpose, you can sit back and reflect on how you wished you knew about it sooner. Give it a try. It works with people too. “Wow, after all of this time I thought you were a grumpy ass but you turned out to be a really fun person to hang out with!”

For months, I assumed this little dimpled plate on a shelf in a cookware shop was for cooking or serving quail eggs. Use it to serve hard-boiled or soft-boiled eggs? Butter and fill each dimple with a whole raw egg and bake in the oven? Does it not look somewhat like a ceramic tray for holding eggs? Well, that is what I thought and, having no interest in any of that, I held onto those assumptions. Stupid of me, I know.

Call it luck or fate but I was able to see similar plates in action not once but twice recently on a couple of cooking shows while flipping through the channels. After mentioning just that and judging from of these photos, I’m sure you can guess that they were not filled with tiny spotted eggs but with glorious cheese. Yes, on both shows the dimples were filled with cubed cheese -provoleta on one and pategras on another- and the plates were then placed on top of hot parrilla grills. While both shows used grills as the means to melt the cheese, I imagine this type of plate was primarily designed for the oven. I mean how many times do you see glazed ceramic plates designed as grill cookware? Anyway, it works fine on the grill and, as these shows were pointing out, it is a nice alternative to the typical methods of cooking and serving provoleta on or off the grill.

As you can see in the photos, I picked up a plate with 19 dimples although there were plates with about half as many for sale as well. Looking back, I should have bought at least two of the smaller plates. They seem like a much better option for the often precious real estate that is needed on both the parrilla and at the table.

Now, as is it should be obvious, the best provoleta is a crispy smokey disk right off the grill rack but for the average home asador that is not always an easy task. Provoleta, or provolone parrillera, varies from brand to brand. Some can keep it together while others easily fall through the cracks. Plus, devoting a section of the grill to the heat needed to quickly crispen the cheese can throw off the organization of everything else if you are cooking a lot of meat. So, the next option is to use a special provoletera pan or refractory ware to place over coals, on the grill or stovetop, or in the oven. You lose the smokiness of cooking directly over coals with no other obstacle in between but there is less chance of an accident and you get the added benefit of using stuffing material.

I see these plates as going a step further than using a simple provoletera pan and easing the task of serving. One disk of provoleta can be a bit too much for some and slicing into portions essentially creates a balled up mass of melted cheese. With these, you only need to plop the plates on the table and have the diners scoop them out with little forks or skewers. Although stuffing is a bit out of the question, toppings do work wonderfully well.

How To Prepare

Simply cut the provoleta disks* into small cubes, about 2 cm. Place two into each dimple. No need to oil the dish first, provoleta cheese provides plenty of that! If you want the cheese to be crispy all around then cook in a oven. For the bottom only, use the grill. Cooking time and temp? This is something that is best left to good common sense and subjectivity. Around medium high heat for the oven and grill, if you really need advice. Serve anywhere from when they are just melted to when you can cleanly pull out a piece with a toothpick.

When ready, serve as is or top with any of the following: herbs (oregano, basil, thyme, etc.), chili flakes/powder (hot, sweet, or smoked), crispy bacon, cubed ham, roasted red peppers, or olives. Or use your imagination and think of it as an Argentinean spinoff of a raclette party grill.

*Substitute with any semi-hard cheese.

Cubed Provoleta

Melted Provoleta with Oregano and Red Chili Flakes

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25 Comment(s)

  1. oh man, I should get one of those so I don’t mess up one of my friends’ grills if they want a provoleta

    eltejano | Aug 4, 2011 | Reply

  2. Nice use of an unusual dish.
    (By the way: Welcome back!)

    Raúl | Aug 14, 2011 | Reply

  3. Good idea I now know what to use the Dutch poffertjes mold on.
    Thanks mate

    Ricardo | Aug 16, 2011 | Reply

  4. Where can I get one of these plates in the US??

    Linda | Aug 25, 2011 | Reply

  5. I’m not sure if you’ll be able to find one there Linda. The closest thing perhaps would be a poffertjes pan as Ricardo suggested. Although, the dimples for those are usually a bit larger.

    http://atouchofdutch.com/product_info.php?cPath=22_32&products_id=2688

    Asado Argentina | Aug 26, 2011 | Reply

  6. I was offered one of these plates for birthday, but I though real men grill whole cheese. What a bad decision! I will have to buy one when I return to BA.

    Peter Kelly | Sep 11, 2011 | Reply

  7. Oh, man! I wish I’d seen this a week ago! I had a friend on holidays in Argentina who asked what I wanted her to bring me back, dammit!

    Still: the poffertjes iron, yeah? That’s good. Bigger dimples? Suits me FINE.

    Vibey | Oct 5, 2011 | Reply

  8. How about microwave?

    Masa | Oct 6, 2011 | Reply

  9. It actually looks a bit like an escargot vessel. I much prefer melted, gooey, delicious cheese though. Maybe some smoked mozzarella would be good in there too!

    Amelia McGoldrick | Oct 10, 2011 | Reply

  10. This blog Is very informative , I am really pleased to post my comment on this blog . It helped me with ocean of knowledge so I really believe you will do much better in the future . Good job web master .

    UGG Mayfaire | Oct 19, 2011 | Reply

  11. Por el dominio escribiré en español.
    En el mes de septiembre, este año, estuve por la ciudad de Cordoba en casa de unos amigos, soy de Paraguay. Compartiendo una cena prepararon exactamente la receta con queso provolone y… simplemente es genial, es riquisimo.
    Recomiendo a todos los que no han probado, que lo prueben, no se van a arrepentir.

    Saludos

    Marcelo S - recetas faciles | Oct 27, 2011 | Reply

  12. Hi, for the one who was asking about microwave, the first time I saw this plate for Provoleta, was in the house of a family who just came from Uruguay, where allegedly it was invented, and I´ve been told that this plate was originally intended for microwave, so, it´s OK!

    José | Jan 21, 2012 | Reply

  13. I bought the same provoletta pan in Buenos Aires, have blogged about it on SpectacularlyDelicious. Have not been able to find a source to buy this pan (mine is the exact same as yours) and people are asking. Thoughts?
    Sean

    Sean | Mar 21, 2012 | Reply

  14. Stay tuned

    Please check back to inquire in may or june

    Laura | Apr 12, 2012 | Reply

  15. Seriously, you need to import several dozen provoletas. I really don’t want til my next biz trip to Uruguay buy a few.

    Aaron | Apr 19, 2012 | Reply

  16. Aaron
    Stay tuned.. Soon easily available! I will notify this blog site. Good things come to those who wait.

    Laura | May 5, 2012 | Reply

  17. We just had my father in law pick up a few of these plates in Buenos Aires. Ours are triangular in shape with a rust-red color. There are places to get them in the US, but harder to find. A simple substitute is the mini-muffin baking pan. I used this before the provoletera plate and it worked well, but will cook quicker.

    Erik | Jun 22, 2012 | Reply

  18. In a month I will post info on this site where you can easily purchase a beautiful plate, artfully made in the USA..no need to go through the hassle of bringing them back from South America. No more difficulty to try to find the item any more. Will also be a great gift idea for the holidays.

    Laura | Jul 27, 2012 | Reply

  19. Making up for my previous mistake, I bought three plates before I left BA along with 6 packs of provoleta.

    Peter Kelly | Aug 3, 2012 | Reply

  20. You can now enjoy making melted cheese AND other appetizers and savory delights with the Quesalera , now made in the USA! Please visit Quesalera.com now.

    Laura | Nov 18, 2012 | Reply

  21. Visit Quesalera.com. You can now buy the item you have been looking for!

    Laura | Nov 18, 2012 | Reply

  22. I ordered from Quesalera.com and had my pretty new plate in 4 days.

    Sally | Jan 6, 2013 | Reply

  23. Now available in the USA…. locally designed and locally made ! The Quesalera for appetizers and small bites. Visit Quesalera.com and Quesalera on Facebook.

    Laura | Jan 9, 2013 | Reply

  24. Yes, but now look at Quesalera.com !!!

    Laura | Jan 9, 2013 | Reply

  25. all the food represent here, really like it..

    Youe-hut | Aug 16, 2013 | Reply

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