Grilled Provolone With Blood Orange Reduction
½ cup blood orange juice, preferably freshly squeezed (see note)
1 tablespoon mild honey
Freshly ground black pepper
1 round (12 ounces, ½-inch thick) mild provolone cheese
1½ teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped unsalted pistachios
Heat the orange juice and honey in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until the honey dissolves. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and cook until the liquid has reduced by half and is slightly syrupy, 8-12 minutes. Remove from the heat; season the mixture with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper.
Cut the cheese into 8 equal wedges.
Heat a grill pan or griddle over medium-high heat until very hot. Brush the pan generously with the oil, then add the cheese and grill until it softens, about 30 seconds; do not let the cheese become so hot that it is runny. Turn the wedges over and grill for 30 seconds or until soft.
Place two wedges of cheese on each plate. Drizzle with the orange reduction and sprinkle with the chopped nuts. Serve hot.
Cook's note: Even two small wedges of this cheese make for a satisfying first course. The tart orange reduction is a nice foil to the rich provolone, and the chopped nuts add crunch. Be sure to serve the cheese while it is still hot; when it begins to cool and harden, taste and texture will be affected.
Nutrition values per serving: 360 calories, 26 g fat (15 g saturated), 10 g carbohydrates, 0 fiber, 23 g protein, 60 mg cholesterol, 820 mg sodium.
Adapted from "The Southern Italian Farmer's Table" by Matthew Scialabba and Melissa Pellegrino (Lyons Press, 2012)
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