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Friday, March 1, 2013

A Uruguayan appetizer!

Okay, I admit it, we first learned about this starter course, technically in Brazil not Uruguay. It was in the border town of Chuy but Uruguay was literally right across the street! There is no need of a visa for "this town", it is sort of, "shared" by both countries. You can literarily stand with one foot in Uruguay and the other in Brazil, by simply standing in the middle of the main street. You can freely shop the entire town in either country, in any of the stores on either side of this dividing street. Brazil has some great bargains.

Bring and use your passport as ID, if you want to take advantage of the great prices in the duty free shops. Since the restaurant we ate in was on the Brazilian side of this said street, I will credit Brazil with introducing us to this hors d'oeuvre of melted cheese. We ate it, we liked it, and then didn't think about it again, until some immigrating new expats invited us out to dinner at a restaurant and ordered it, some months later in Uruguay!

Brazil on the left, parked cars in the middle and Uruguay on the right.
This border town has no visible dividing line between countries.

Our friends, asked the waiter if they served the Provolone cheese dish in this restaurant and the answer was "Of course!/¡Claro que sí! Ah! we finally learned what type of cheese was used in this melted concoction. I mean yes, any cheese can be melted from cheddar to swiss, I think fondues use Gruyere as it's main base but now we knew what type to use for this appetizer dish of apparently both Uruguay and Brazil.

As a side note, the restaurant they took us to was Don Vito's. Don Vito's is a local expat hangout in the city of Atlántida. I think it's because it is open 24/7 even in winter, when many other places are closed. It also has an extensive menu. For several years many of the "Expat luncheons" were held there. During this winter the first Expat meeting for the Canelones area will be Thursday March 7th, at 1 PM/13:00 hrs. held at Jerry Brunner's "Hotel Via Park" right on the rambla in Parque de Plata near the intersection of calle 11 (street 11). The hotel Piroska has closed down for the winter, that is where the expat meetings were being held this summer.

Getting back on tract about the cheese dish, being forever frugal, Wally and I just had to learn how to make this cheese dish at home and it's incredibly simple to do. First, buy or get an oven proof dish, very shallow. The food stores also sell a dish for this purpose to use for parties. It has several little shallow indentations in it, so you can just use little morsels of cheese to melt as bite size appetizers. We bought a little saucer plate, that was oven and microwave proof. Note: they sell 2 slices of cheese to a package at our supermarket but we only use 1, so we save the second slice to make this again on some other night. What a bargain!

Recipe: Use a shallow ovenproof/microwave dish.
             Provolone Cheese (a thick slice or round)
             Oregano dried or fresh.

*Lay the cheese slice on some oregano, coating it as shown, or according to your taste (both front and backside of the cheese).
*Put the oregano coated cheese slice on the dish (there's no need to coat the dish with anything).
*Bake at 350F/175C. for about 15 minutes or until melted and just slightly bubbly.

Use 2 spoons and ladle it onto your plate as shown. Enjoy with bread, crackers or whatever!
Now, we are enjoying yet another taste treat of Uruguay and being thrifty at the same time!


Anonymous said...

you can embellish this dish with everything your imagination allows
is very tasteful adding red peppers( aji morron rojo in uruguyay) and any other stuff you want
old lady also retired in maridia

Anonymous said...

it´s also quite good with sliced green olives...

Denise said...

Yummy, I guess the sky and your imagination are the only limits with this dish. Thanks for the added suggestions!