The Argentinian Melted Cheese Dish You Should Know About

Argentina prides itself on a range of dishes, from meat-based to those with a sweet taste. Dulce de leche comes in most Latin American pastries — choose between a flavorful, creamy serving of flan or a crispy filled churro. Or, don't bother choosing at all, and try a bit of each. According to The Culture Trip, Argentina has been in a long-standing battle with Uruguay over which country gets to claim dulce de leche as part of its cultural heritage.

While the origins of Latin America's favorite sweet spread are debatable, Argentina's ties to steak are undeniable. Drop into any Buenos Aires restaurant, and you're likely to confront meats of all kinds. Per BBC Good Food, these range from matambre arrollado to choripán's beloved chorizo, which is versatile enough to cook to your liking.

Argentina is widely associated with meat, however, the country boasts plenty of other dishes to appease any palate — vegetarians included. Empanadas come in all shapes, sizes, and stuffings, from the steak-based, certainly, but also the vegetable-filled. Cheese is another vegetarian-friendly specialty. While provoleta is less known in North America as Argentina's meatier and flakier counterparts, it's a dish you don't want to miss. The Buenos Aires food blog Pick Up the Fork likens provoleta to the crispiest, cheesiest bits of a grilled cheese sans the bread. With provoleta on deck, you won't even be missing meat.

Provoleta is a thick Argentinian cheese made for grilling

Provoleta is, at its most basic definition, cheese that is grilled. In fact, NYT Cooking likens provoleta to its almost-name: provolone. But according to The Spruce Eats, provoleta isn't quite the same as provolone. The two taste similar, but the thick Argentinian cheese is ideal for grilling and isn't easily found outside of South America. As such, you'll need to track down another cheese capable of withstanding harsh heat. Provoleta is gooey but relatively solid, so you don't want a cheese that will melt into a puddle the moment it warms. 

According to Asado Argentina, provoleta is typically enjoyed as a starter during an asado, meaning a barbecue, so the cheese tends to precede heavier meats. In Argentina, provoleta is cooked over coals until golden and bubbling. It's South America's answer to cheese fondue and is best enjoyed alongside fresh bread (via Puerto La Boca). Though it's equally flavorful and plopped straight into your mouth — just don't burn your tongue. It's a food that is uniquely Argentinian and certain to satisfy any and all dairy cravings.

Making provoleta at home takes a few tweaks

Although it seems pretty simple from the outside, making this dish at home takes a few extra steps than just grilling cheese. Once you track down your provoleta or a similar dairy product, NYT Cooking recommends using a cast-iron pan in either the broiler or oven. Or, if you'd rather maintain the dish's integrity and cook your cheese Argentina-style, you can throw your provoleta right on the grill. Just leave the cheese uncovered for a few hours ahead of time. You'll need to dry it out so it can survive the heat and leave a satisfying crisp on the outside, per Asado Argentina.

According to NYT Cooking, you should also season your cheese with oregano and crushed pepper for that extra zing. Cook the provoleta for about two minutes on each side. Once it begins to turn gooey, it's ready to be devoured. But don't get ahead of yourself — finish off the dish with a slather of fresh chimichurri sauce as well, and your provoleta will be the star of any asado (via Puerto La Boca).