tips: parmesan or pecorino rinds

slow-cooked Parmesan rind
for added flavour
Continuing with top tips and fabulous facts blog posts, here's a tip and quite a good one at that and it involves old cheese. Not any old cheese and certainly not beautifully aged cheese. No, what you are looking for is that dog end of Parmesan or my favourite Pecorino rind, (or perhaps Manchego or other very hard cheese). I am talking about the last bit of rind, where the cheese has been so far grated that to grate any more would lose the skin on your knuckles. The chances are that the bit of cheese rind that I am talking about has been wrapped in kitchen foil or cling film and is now mouldering unloved at the back of your fridge. This piece of rind will only emerge on the day you decide to spring clean your fridge and throw out this unloved tiny chunk.
I have one thing to say. Don't.

Do not ever throw out rinds of very hard cheese. Ever. Even if they are slightly blue with mould. (I just scrub it off with a vegetable brush and rinse under the cold tap).

Why not?

This unprepossessing but of dried out cheese rind is the cook's friend and a secret weapon in your flavour armoury.

Really? How?

The rind can still give up some flavour. Throw the rind into a slow cooking stew or soup, such as Beef and Ale, or particularly a Spag Bol sauce, and let the rind simmer away with thew stew for a good hour or so.

While the rind cooks it isn't imparting a cheesy flavour, it is giving your stew an injection of umami - that lip-smacking, indefinable extra oomph of savoury flavour.

Once the rind has cooked for about an hour, it will have softened and what you end up with is a sort cheesy toffee. Fish this out of stew before serving. This is not to be thrown away either, nor is it for sharing. This is a delicious savoury morsel and is the cook's treat. Now why would you want to waste that?

1 comment:

o cozinheiro este algarve said...

Never was a truer word written.I have a box full of assorted rinds that in turn get put in soups and sauces.A warming minestrone with parmesan rind melting in it ohhhhhhh.