Parmesan cheese, or Parmigiano-Reggiano, is perhaps one of the best cheeses ever. It’s salty, crumbly, and some might even say it gives dishes that umami complexity people are always crazy about.
Something that often gets overlooked, though, is the rind of this fabulous cheese, and too many time, the rind is thrown out, never reaching its full potential. It turns out that the rind can actually be used in a multitude of ways to give your dishes complex flavor and you can even eat the rind itself when prepared in certain ways.
Waste not, want not, am I right?
1. Throw it in your tomato sauce
Tomato sauce is tomato sauce is tomato sauce, but what about tomato sauce stewed with a parmesan rind in it? Toss in the rind as your sauce is simmering (take it out at the end or leave it, your decision) and you’ll have a sauce that’s like no other you’ve made at home before.
2. Jar it up with some olive oil, herbs, and garlic cloves to make a fancy and infused olive oil
You know when you go to a fancy restaurant and they have that dank olive oil that you can dip your bread in before your food arrives? Well, now you can make some at home. All you need to do is find a jar, put the cheese rind in it, add your herbs or garlic cloves or whatever, and then cover with olive oil. Let it sit for a while to fully infuse, I’d say at least a couple of days, and then BAM, done, you’re welcome.
3. Add it to your stock
If you’re making something that requires stock (vegetable or chicken, doesn’t matter to be honest) throw a parmesan rind into your simmering stock to give it that extra boost of salty, savory, cheesy flavor— just make sure to take out the rind once you’re done simmering the broth. It’ll round out the entire dish and taste oh so good.
4. Make a parmesan broth
All you have to do is poach some parmesan rinds (the general ratio is about 8 cups of water to half a pound of cheese rind, but really any ratio works, just use what you have) with some salt and pepper for about 3-4 of hours. Then you’re left with a light and cheesy broth perfect for using in any recipe that calls for some more liquid and flavoring, or you could spoon some over pasta to make a fancy pasta dish at home.
5. Add it to your rice or risotto
Add some flavor to your rice or risotto by adding a parmesan rind into it while it’s cooking – doing so will give it not only some creaminess, but again, that umami-like boost that is sure to impress. Just be sure to remove the rind before serving.
6. Grill it
If the rind is only cheese, meaning there is no wax or waxy coating on it, you can grill the rind until it is softer and almost chewy. Throw it on a piece of crusty bread with a drizzle of olive oil and eat. Yum.