What to do with smoked provolone?
We bought some smoked provolone and found it to be too dry and strong for enjoyable snacking. Now I want to use it up. I was thinking maybe in macaroni & cheese, but do you think it would mix well with swiss? I want to pair it with something mild as its flavor is really, really strong.
And then what? (I don't do mac & cheese alone, mine always has something in it.) Leeks & pine nuts come to mind for some reason, do you think they would be good with this?
Or, other suggestions?
I like smoked provolone sliced and melted on burgers.
Otherwise, smoked provolone and regular mozz make a nice cheese topping for pizza in about a 50-50 ratio. A lot of places around my house use a prov-mozz mixture for pizza. I think some places in the midwest use all smoked prov for their cheese topping on pizza, and many are very good.
It sounds as if this provolone is very sharp indeed. I think it would pair well with mozzarella as suggested, or some other cheese with a creamier melt than Swiss, like muenster or perhaps gouda. On the plus side, if it's that loaded with flavor you'll probably find that it takes only a small proportion of the stuff relative to milder cheeses to make its presence known, and that it stands up well without needing strongly flavored additions, whether it be on pizza, in a mac & cheese, or just toasted on a good crusty semolina bread. Of course, a portion of sliced leeks isn't likely to do it any harm either.
If your imagination suggests piney notes, consider grating some and mixing with ricotta, chopped black olives, pignolis and fresh rosemary to use as a spread, on bread or crackers or in a sandwich with some nice ripe tomato...
Or you might use it as a foil for something sweet, maybe very thin slices of it on melon, or over apple pie. You could stuff pitted dates with it for an appetizer.
If it's particularly crumbly and salty you might treat it as you would a strong dry cheese like romano or parmesan- grate it onto pasta or shave some over salads. I bet it would taste super in a creamy sauce with garlic, sort of a smoky provolone cousin to an Alfredo. Not sure about how grainy it might be melting on its own, though. If I were trying that for the first time I'd reserve some starchy pasta water in case it's a bit reluctant to smooth out nicely for you.
I love provolone, especially melted. Happy experimenting and good luck!