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Broiled Provolone with Italian Herbs and Crackers

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My Cooking Mentor

My mother would have turned 101 this year. I still miss her although she’s been gone for decades.

At parties, people often asked my mother if she taught me to cook. “Not like this”, she’d say. What she meant was she never taught me to be a gourmet cook. She never had the time or the audience to consume the kinds of foods I serve at parties. She was feeding seven kids and a husband of Irish heritage who never wanted things too fancy. A good steak and a wedge of lettuce with Russian dressing was gourmet to my Dad....

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Broiled Provolone with Italian Herbs and Crackers

Two basic ingredients and some herbs. Simple elegance at its finest.

Servings: Serves 6 for a light appetizer



one 1-inch thick wheel of provolone (the wheels are usually about 5 inches in diameter; close in size is fine)
your favorite crackers to serve with cheese (12 to 20 of them)
4 Tbl olive oil
dried Italian herbs (in a jar) to taste
sea salt to taste


Preheat your broiler. Put one tablespoon of oil in a metal or glass pie pan. Swish it around. Place the disk of cheese on top. Drizzle the rest of the oil on top. The oil will drift off the sides but don't worry. Sprinkle with dried herbs and grate sea salt on top. Place six to eight inches below the broiler element. Broil for up to seven minutes (check it at five minutes) or until slightly browned and puffy in spots on top. The edges will crisp. Watch out for splattering oil. It's HOT. It might smoke a little too. That's okay. Carefully slide the broiled provolone out of the pie pan and onto a serving plate. Coax it with your spatula. The oil will come along with the cheese, so make sure your serving plate has a lip on it.

Serve the crackers on the side. Tell your guests to dig in quick! They can stretch the cheese using a couple of knives to "pull it apart" and cut bite-sized pieces. Stack a slice on a cracker and enjoy. The cheese will begin to immediately get chewier as time passes, so encourage them to dig right in.





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