Magic wheels

Unless you love food, you probably have no idea what this photo is. Abstract art? Ancient drums? New forms of insulation?

But if you love food, like me, you know that these are large wheels of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese aging to perfection.

I love to travel and explore the rich cuisines of every destination. Seeing the food in the place it originates brings a whole new appreciation to the ingredients I work with. These Parmigiano wheels, resting and being nurtured until they reach the peak of their tangy saltiness, makes me want to use every piece that I can.

Real Parm is an affordable luxury. Maximize it to justify the expense! The hard, darker rinds are no different that the sweeter Parmigiano near the center. The flavor is more concentrated and the texture is dense because of the exposure to air. Water out, flavor in. Put that flavor to good use! Here are some of the ways I use the rinds in my kitchen:

– Add a rind to simmering tomato sauce for creaminess and a unique salt flavor.
– Make a stock with several rinds and add tiny ditalini pasta and peas for a quick soup.
– Add it to the soaking or boiling water for beans.
– Toss it in with braising liquid for meat
– Grind it in the food processor into small chucks to use in bread doughs
– Add it to your steamer basket when steaming vegetables

To store the rinds, just place them in an airtight container or bag until ready to use. Boost flavor and reduce food waste! It doesn’t get more delicious than that.

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