You know you are a food nerd when you are extremely excited about the cracking of a Parmigiano Reggiano wheel and sampling of the heart of the “king of cheeses”. It happened this past weekend at Whole Foods, and I’m in cheese heaven. Those samples were the best piece of cheese I’ve ever had. Since I bought a big piece of Parmigiano that day, I wanted to make something that is hard to find in stores, Parmigiano Reggiano crisps.
Parmigiano Reggiano – one block party and one simple recipe
Yes, I know, they are everywhere in stores, is the latest keto craze, but they are not made with the real Parmigiano from Italy, they are made with what in the US is called “Parmesan”. So if you see on a label “Parmesan”, know that it’s not Parmigiano Reggiano, which is a protected name under European law. According to www.parmigianoreggioano.com, Parmigiano-Reggiano is produced exclusively in the provinces of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena and parts of the provinces of Mantua and Bologna, on the plains, hills and mountains enclosed between the rivers Po and Reno. You can read all the details about the history and the craftsmanship that making the “king of cheese” involves at the above link.
In the Plant Paradox book, Dr. Steven Gundry writes (page 308): “This aged, hard grating cheese, is made from cow’s milk collected only during the spring and fall grass-growing season. Use only a product imported from Italy, where the cows also do not have the casein A-1 mutation. Parmigiano Reggiano is sometimes called the king of cheeses. Do not mistake generic Parmesan cheese for the real McCoy.”
It is generally agreed that cows in Southern Europe, and especially Italy, still produce milk with casein A2 (although sometimes is more a question of prevalence of casein A2), which is easier to digest and many times tolerated by those who can’t have cheese made with casein A1. So, if you can tolerate cheese with casein A2, you are lucky because some of the best cheeses in the world come from Italy, France and Switzerland. While searching for answers about casein, I found this paper online that has a list of the main cow breeds in the world and the prevalence of casein A1 or A2 in the milk they produce: Discussions of Effect A1 and A2 Milk Beta-Casein Gene on Health. If you have specific information on this topic please comment, this is a subject we need to know more about.
But, let’s get back to our Parmigiano Reggiano crisps. This past weekend Whole Foods organized a cheese cracking block party, when they cracked and sampled a 24 month aged, 40kg wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano. Oh my goodness, the taste of those pieces at the core of the wheel, just seeing light and air in two years, was divine. What’s funny is that while we were talking about the authentic Parmigiano Reggiano, we were surrounded by the new trendy keto snack, the Parmesan crisps. They are everywhere, is the new keto craze, and even I fell for it once, when I simply overlooked that they were not made with the authentic Parmigiano Reggiano.
So all in all, to cut this story short, I wanted to see how easy is to make these crisps at home, using authentic, freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano. My conclusion, there is nothing easier to make, and it only takes 10 minutes. If you look online, you will see baking timing varying from three to five minutes, but it took me nine minutes. One reason might be that my baking sheet is a heavy, thick stainless steel, so it might take longer to heat. Anyway, just keep an eye on them and take them out when they are golden and crispy. The temperature I use was 400F.
Oh, and a funny fact, don’t throw away the hard crust, use it when you make stock, it will give an incredible umami flavor to you dishes.
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How to Make Real Parmigiano Reggiano Crisps
There is an easy way to make these keto snacks at home.
- 1 packed cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Grate the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and arrange it in a thin layer on the perchment paper. You can make any shapes you want. I baked mine for 9 minutes, but some say it can take as little as 3 minutes, so keep an eye on them, checking every 2 minutes or so. They are golden and crispy when they are ready. (If they are still bubling it means they need more time). Let cool.
I stored them on the counter, in a covered stainless steel container and they are still crispy the next day.