Toasted provolone cheese with sliced tomatoes has become a favorite nibble around here. Served with fresh bread and a glass of your favorite adult beverage, it’s a delicious prelude to a meal or to enjoy with some of your favorite people.
We first had this on the recommendation of the waiter at a small bar near us. The chef works with exquisitely fresh ingredients on a small flat top grill. Everything we’ve had has been excellent, including their choice of wines.
They have large cylinders of imported provolone cheese hanging on the walls and we were told they frequently go through one or two a night. That’s how popular this small plate is.
I wanted to recreate the dish for the blog because I’m sure it will become a favorite in your house, too.
We buy half inch thick slices of round provolone from a local quesería. You could ask the person at your local deli to do the same thing if you can’t find a round in the deli case. Buy the best quality cheese you can. The slab of cheese fits almost perfectly into one of our small frying pans. You probably have something in your kitchen that will work, too, but if not, don’t let that put you off. A larger pan will work as long as you control the heat and prevent the cheese from melting into a shapeless blob.
If the cheese is the star of the dish, the tomatoes, fresh herbs and delicious bread are the supporting players. Use your favorite slicing tomato for this plate. Almost any herb you have on hand will work to add a little visual interest and more flavor.
The combination of melted salty cheese, meaty tomato and tender bread is a near perfect bite, especially when washed down with a hearty red wine. When the cheese and tomatoes are gone we find ourselves mopping up the juices with the remaining bread. Feel free to do the same!
- ½ inch thick disk of provolone cheese
- 1 or 2 tomatoes, cut into slices (two slices per person)
- slices of fresh bread (we recommend Italian style)
- fresh herbs to taste (I used thyme)
- red pepper flakes
- olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Slice the tomatoes and arrange on a platter. Season with fresh herbs and a little salt and pepper as desired.
- Add a little oil to a small frying pan and season with a pinch of red pepper flakes and more fresh herbs.
- Lay the disk of cheese in the bottom of the frying pan and cook until the bottom begins to take on a little bit of a crust. Mind the heat to prevent the cheese from melting or scorching. You want it to retain its shape.
- To serve, invert the cheese over the tomato slices with the toasted side is up .
- Garnish with more chopped herbs if desired.
A few more things:
If things get out of hand with the cheese, let it cool a little bit and slide it out of the pan onto the tomatoes. The flavor won’t be affected and you can admire the abstract shape of the cheese.
It’s not necessary to have a disk shaped piece of provolone. Rick chopped a snack sized bit off of a piece I’d intended to use. I chunked up the rest and arranged the pieces in the skillet where the heat melded them together. In fact, each individual piece took on some color around the edges which looked kind of cool.
Normally, I don’t spend a lot of time recommending particular wines because everyone has their own tastes, but a hearty red nicely counters the fattiness of the cheese. I’ll bet you can think of a wine you like that will go well with this dish.