Custom Search

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Waste Not: Cheese, Parmesan Rinds

By popular demand (two comments), I will soon post occasionally on ways to use dried bread. Right now, though, I feel the urge to inform (or remind, if you already knew this) that dried CHEESE is also a treasure.

I'm not talking about soft cheese covered with pink mold. I hope you never let your cheese get like that. I'm talking about dried out hard cheese. A little truc that I first learned about from one of Martha Shulman's old cookbooks is to throw parmesan rinds into your soup. Most recommend this for minestrone, where it provides an obviously compatible enrichment.

This is, of course, great with parmesano reggiano (almost as expensive in Italy as here), but it's also good with any block parmesan or its relatives asiago and pecorino. I saw a tub of reggiano ends at Whole Foods a while back: I think it was priced at $8.99/lb, so the secret is out.

You can also use dried up cheddar and the like in any soup where it suits your fancy.

The Wall Street Journal recently ran a story on winter greens, which had a recipe that used parmesan ends.

Parmesan broth with Swiss chard and white beans

A deeply satisfying soup that can compete with chicken noodle as a winter cure-all.Serves 4 to 6.

Over low heat, steep 8 cups chicken stock with 8 ounces Parmesan rinds for about 45 minutes, until the rinds are soft. Strain the liquid and reserve. // In a heavy-bottomed soup pot, sauté 1 smashed garlic clove in 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat until garlic just begins to color. Add 1 dried red chili, crumbled; 4 cups loosely packed Swiss chard, stems removed and leaves cut into ribbons; and stir to coat. //Add the warm, strained stock and 2 cups canned cannellini beans and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper and add a teaspoon lemon zest. To serve, ladle soup over a slice of toasted country bread and drizzle with olive oil. —Sara Jenkins of Porsena and Porchetta, New York

Hmmmm. Strange to think of finding recipes in the WSJ. I'd rather read a recipe than the self-aggrandizing essay on the Tiger Mother (how to raise superior children the Chinese mother way) that is THE MOST READ ARTICLE in the history of the on-line WSJ.

Which would you rather read?


Shelley said...

I'm with you - Shulman hands down.

Duchesse said...

Pram rinds are our secret weapon, in soups and also in pasta sauce. They add such depth.

B/c we have a large Asian community where I live, including neighbours and friends, I've long been familiar with the "Tiger Mother" behaviours, and with the tactics children of these parents use to mitigate them. My hunch is that Chua is laughing all the way to the bank.

J said...

Bread - mmmm. I had a really good recipe for a breakfast muffin/bread that was made with milk, eggs, dry bread. I can't seem to find it, will have to experiment - or hope that you post something like it. :-)

I was talking with a Chinese lady from work and she doesn't think that Chua is "real Chinese" (her words).

Not trying to be inflammatory or stereotype, but I've noticed in hiring several of these Tiger Kids in an accounting group, that their work ethic is dismal. Maybe they just push for the grades, I don't know - or maybe it's a Gen Y thing. Or maybe they got tired of being pushed? One of my BFF's is a Vietnamese boat person kid and she has a very strong work ethic - but it's brute force / volume methods vs. a passion and love for doing what you're gifted at.

Anonymous said...

Will cut and paste this recipe! Had not thought to check WSJ for recipes. I DID read the Chinese mother article...and found it troubling on many levels. A good response to it by Jenny from "Fashion for Writers" at Jezebel.

Duchesse said...

According to the Wikipedia entry, Chua's parents are "ethnic Chinese parents who emigrated to the Us from the Philippines". One does not have to be born in a country to carry strong cultural values.

Among my Chinese colleagues,I've observed that highly prized values include duty, family reputation, academic excellence and career achievement. These values are also prevalent among immigrants from other cultures; it's how people make their way in a new world.

I'd say the Chinese culture is far more collective, less individualistic than the North American one.

Frugal Scholar said...

@Shelley--I always choose the cookbooks. Shulman is a good writer too.

@Duchesse--Laughing all the way to the bank--yup!

@J--I only baked muffins once--very flawed muffins. So I'll be looking for other things! And as for parenting: my son says there is a syndrome of kids who won't leave their rooms-too pressured.

@Terri-Thanks--that response is next on my to-do list. (After syllabi, etc).

@Duchesse-Thanks for the tip! Very interesting. My son says he likes the Asian tradition of parents being supported by their kids in old age. We'll see...

Anonymous said...

We keep parmesan rinds in the freezer for exactly that reason. They really do add a depth to soup stock that is remarkable.

Frugal Scholar said...

@nic/mag--Wish I had some in the freezer.