Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

Parmigiano-Reggiano and Whole Foods (Like Shopping There Wasn’t Already Full of Temptations…)

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Is there any ingredient more “worth-it” then Parmigano-Reggiano? Grated over a bowl of pasta bolognese, shaved into a salad of warm farro and ripe tomatoes, sprinkled into a white bean and escarole soup that’s been simmered with a leftover rind (Never get rid of those! Just stick your used-up parm rind into a freezer bag and store it in the freezer for when you make soup, it will infuse the broth with wonderful flavor.). Yes, using the real deal is a little decadent, but nothing, no pale imitator, compares to  this wonderfully aged, nutty, King of Cheese.

P1270854One of my favorite ways to enjoy a gorgeous junk of Parmigiano is to eat it all by itself—not on or in anything, but toasted in pan until it melts into a lacey Italian cocktail snack that resembles a delicate cracker. It’s called fricco, and although it’s one of the easiest recipes ever,  the results are magical.

Here’s how you make it:

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You need a medium-sized skillet. A non-stick will be easier but I actually use a regular pan and then barely coat it with olive oil, using a paper towel to rub it into the pan but soak up any excess. next grate the cheese into the pan so you have thin layer coating the entire bottom of the pan. Cook over medium heat until the gratings begin to melt and bubble a little, melding into one sheet of cheese (see photo above for this stage). Using a spatula, gently peel the layer up and off the pan (it’s OK if it bunches up) and then flip so you can toast the other side. When it’s golden on both sides lift it up off the pan, it should look something like this:

P1270863With 2 cups of grated cheese you should be able to make enough sheets for a small group to snack on (you can serve the circles piled on a plate or break them into smaller shards) Even though fricco is wonderful with a glass of prosecco or anything frizzante, I have actually made it for an after school snack and it was gone in an instant.

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To further celebrate the wonder that is Parmigiano-Reggiano,  Whole Foods Market will be attempting to re-claim the Guinness World Record for “Most Wheels of Parmigiano Cheese Wheels Cracked Simultaneously.” On Saturday, March 9th at 2pm CST (3pm EST), they’re inviting shoppers from across the country to swing by their local store to join them for their annual Parmigiano Reggiano event. I’m hoping a few morsels land my way…

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