|Written By Recipe Coordinator|
Parmigiano Reggiano has been made for centuries in one area of Northern Italy, the rolling hills and green pastures comprising Reggio Emilia, Parma, Modena and portions of Bologna and Mantua. Conditions in this Italian region are ideal for the production of this outstanding cheese. This area boasts unbelievably rich countryside and a cool climate. The cheese is made in small batches using artisan methods which are passed down from generation to generation. Parmigiano Reggiano dates back almost 800 years. It is crafted by artisans and carefully aged and cared for. Each cheese wheel carries proof of its authenticity. During production, the future rind is impressed with the number of the “caseificio” or cheese house, production date, and pin dots forming the words “Parmigiano Reggiano.” These pin dots guarantee gthat the cheese was made under regulation of the Consorio del Formaggio Parmigiano Reggiano, conforming to its stringent standards of quality. After one year of aging, each wheel that passes the test is branded with an oval certification mark and left to finish aging. What a process!
A while back the lovely Gaida had a whole Food Network program on the Parma region and the manufacturing process of Parmigiano Reggiano. It was an absolutely fabulous show. This cheese making process is exacting and conducted with love and boatloads of skill and centuries of tradition. This cheese is the Cadillac of cheeses. A few weeks back I had the pleasure to entertain some out of town guests. I wanted to make a nice appetizer that would be memorable and show my love and affection. The recipe for Parmigiano Reggiano Crisps is a perfect recipe for entertaining people that you really care about and want to please. It is fairly simple to make and loaded with flavor and sophistication. Just a small amount of Parmigiano Reggiano provides big flavor. This recipe makes about two dozen crisps. I made an extra batch for the road and I can truly say the crisps were the hit of the dinner party. Make this recipe for your special someone and make a batch for yourself as well.
4 oz. Parmigiano Reggiano, freshly grated
pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
1 tablespoon fresh sage or thyme (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 325*F. Toss cheese with cayenne or herbs, if desired.
2. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a non-stick silicone pad.
3. Spoon heaping tablespoons of cheese mixture onto the baking sheet, spacing 2" apart.
4. Lightly press to flatten, making circles about 2" in diameter. (For a uniform shape, use a 2" biscuit or cookie cutter as a guide.)
5. Bake until slightly browned on top, 6-10 minutes.
6. Remove from oven and cool a few minutes to firm slightly, then use a spatula to loosen and remove to cool further and harden.
7. Repeat process until all cheese is used.
Allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container layered between waxed paper.
Makes about 2 dozen crisps.
Recipe and Parmigiano Reggiano facts courtesy of Whole Foods Market.
Photo courtesy of gourmet.com.