Aged Provolone cheese — a smoky semi-hard Italian cheese — is a perfect choice for frying in this flavorful starter. Other semi-hard cheeses can also be used in this recipe. Look for small serving skewers — fanned out on a serving platter, they make a beautiful presentation.
- Cook Time
- Prep Time
- 16 skewersServings
- 8 ounces aged provolone cheese, cubed (or any block of hard cheese)
- ⅓ cup flour
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 cup panko or coarse bread crumbs
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup canola oil
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
- 16 cherry tomatoes, halved
1. Place flour, beaten egg, and panko or bread crumbs each in separate bowls for dredging. Season crumbs with black pepper.
2. Dredge cheese cubes in flour, egg, then in crumbs. Place breaded cubes on wax paper and place in freezer for fifteen minutes to firm up.
3. Heat oil in medium frying pan over medium-high heat until oil is hot and shimmering. Fry cheese cubes until golden brown, turning once — about 1 minute per side. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain and cool slightly.
1. Place vinegar and brown sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk to blend.
2. Bring to a boil and cook until mixture is reduced by more than half, about 20 minutes; mixture should have a syrupy consistency.
3. Remove from heat, allow to cool.
4. Transfer to a container or squeeze bottle to store.
1. Carefully thread a tomato half (cut side up), a baby basil leaf (or medium leaf folded over), cheese cube, another basil leaf, and finish with another tomato half (cut side down) on skewers.
2. Drizzle with balsamic reduction immediately before serving.