Uruguayan Spicy Baked Cheese
by Donald Link
1/2 pound semihard cheese with flat sides, such as provolone, in a square or round
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons best-quality extra‑virgin olive oil
1 lemon wedge
Heat the oven to 450ºF.
Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Lightly coat the cheese with the olive oil and put it in the hot skillet (it is not necessary to oil the skillet because the cheese is coated with oil). Cook until a golden crust forms on the bottom, 3 to 4 minutes. Carefully flip the cheese over (try to lift the cheese up with the spatula as you slide it underneath, so you don't mess up the nice crust you just created).
At this point the cheese should still be slightly firm. Put the skillet in the oven until the cheese softens and begins to melt but doesn't completely lose its shape, about 1 minute. (Note: If the cheese is already good and melted after you sear it on one side, you can skip this step entirely.)
Put the cheese on a serving platter and sprinkle the oregano, salt, and red pepper flakes over the top. Just before serving, drizzle with the extra-virgin olive oil and some fresh lemon juice.
Recipe reprinted from Down South. Copyright (c) 2014 by Donald Link. Photo copyright (c) 2014 by Chris Granger. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House LLC.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6 as an appetizer