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Parmesan Crisps

Updated: Sep 23, 2020

The Challenge:


The second recipe of the week was Parmesan Crisps, which you can find here or on page 41 of the Foolproof cookbook.


Lea’s Take:


To start, it was Saturday before I remembered I had to make a recipe this week. [Mary: How is this not top of mind for you??] [Lea: Maybe "remembered" is the wrong word here. It was more like "admitted".] Luckily, the recipe was an appetizer and I was having a birthday party that day for Mr. Good Eater and Mr. Picky Pants. This meant new people to try recipes on (a good and bad thing)!


A few guests arrived early (or I was late in preparing foods), so I also had an audience when putting this appetizer together. My husband’s aunt watched as I put it together from start to finish. It’s really fun having people watch you make food when you're not-at-all confident in the kitchen. (Yes, that was sarcasm.)


As recipes go, this is one of the easier ones. I seem to say that a lot, which makes me wonder if I actually know how to cook, I just haven’t been following enough recipes. [Mary: See?]


Anyway, I had to grate an entire hunk (4 ounces) of Parmesan Reggiano. [Mary: You make this sound like an enormous task…arms sore the next day? Heh heh.] I think now would be a good time to mention that I don’t really like Parmesan Reggiano. It’s a little too strong for me all by itself, but I suppose it’s good on pasta. As I was grating, the smell was intense, and I was worried I wouldn’t like the end result. But, whatever. I persevered. Mostly, because I had to. I had people watching.


This recipe also called for thyme. I had thyme leftover from last week’s recipe, but guess what? I didn’t refrigerate it, so, as usual, I worried it had gone bad. I was (sorta) willing to use it if it wasn’t bad, so I checked with my mentor (read: Mary). She said if there was fuzz on it, it had molded. I saw what I thought was fuzz, so into the garbage it went. And my dear husband had to buy more. The good news is I learned to put the remaining thyme in the fridge when I was done, so that’s something new I learned this week! I also learned how to mince thyme last week, so this week, I looked like a pro (sorta)! I think this challenge is working!



I added a tablespoon of flour and a teaspoon of salt to the cheese and thyme and it was ready to put on the parchment-lined cookie sheet. (My husband’s aunt pointed out that I had put the parchment paper on upside down, so that was nice and embarrassing.) [Mary: You should get the parchment sheets.] And, as I spooned the mixture onto the cookie sheet, I could tell she was not impressed by my technique.



Through no fault but my own, there were a lot of people telling me what to do as I made this really simple recipe. My husband, my sister, my aunt...it’s my lack of confidence (or others' lack of confidence in me) that annoys me the most. I should’ve been able to make this recipe with absolutely no help whatsoever. And I hope by the end of this challenge, I can get there and everyone will STFU. [Mary: You will, I promise!]



They look OK, no? Because I'm an idiot, I didn't take a picture of them on the platter I used for the party. But they looked kinda dumb on the too-large platter I used anyway, so it's probably better that I have no proof lying around.


Mary’s Take:


We were invited to our friends’ house for dinner on Friday (Thanks, Amy! Everything was so good!). The husband loves all things cheese (ask him about his cheese-of-the-month club!) and I knew we would have some great wines that night, so I prepared a double batch of the Parmesan Crisps to bring with us. Their sharp flavor and saltiness are cut really nicely by the wine. (But then, what doesn’t go well with wine? Breakfast? Make mimosas! Strawberry ice cream? Pick a rosé that complements the sweetness. (I had to read that somewhere, I didn’t just know it off the top of my head.))


I ended up using my herb stripper [Lea: Heh. Stripper.] this time to take off the thyme leaves from the stems. Still not a fan. It was easier just to run my fingers backward along the stems to zip off the leaves; [Lea: Oh, that's how you do it?] I’m still planning to give that useless thing away to make room for other gadgets.


There are a lot of Parmesan Crisp recipes that are just shredded Parm baked into lacy disks, but ours called for a little flour, as well as the thyme, salt, and pepper. I often think they’re just too salty, and I was hopeful that the flour would temper that a bit.



The double batch ended up making about 26 crisps that, instead of cooking them on convect at the same time, I baked separately. I took out the first batch at around 10 minutes, let them cool, and decided they weren’t browned enough to make them look appetizing, (I was taking this to a dinner party, after all!) so after I baked the second batch for around 12 minutes, I popped the first batch back into the oven for another couple of minutes. Here’s how both batches looked out of the oven. Don’t the darker ones look more appealing?



I’m quite sure there was a prettier way to present them rather than line the white(ish) crisps on a white platter [Lea: Did you see mine?!], so if you have suggestions, please let me know. Perhaps a sprig of thyme on the plate? I’ll do that next time.



The Results:


Lea:

As I said, there were more people to experiment with, so that was good. And I had (mostly) good feedback.


The husband: These are fantastic.

Me: Eh. I still don’t like Parmesan Reggiano cheese.

The uncle: Lea, these are really, really good (he said this more than once. But he also had wine by then, soo….)

The aunt: I have to admit, watching you make them, I had very little hope. But they were very good.


If that's not high praise, I don't know what is!


Mary:

We thought these were delicious. The flour did what I had hoped and softened the sharpness of the Parmesan enough so you didn’t feel like you were going to get canker sores from eating them, although I think next time I will eliminate the additional salt recommended in the recipe. Interestingly (and someone else pointed this out, too), as you eat them, the flavor intensifies. They’re really a nice, easy snack to take to someone’s house.


I also brought what I consider my signature appetizer to the dinner party: a layered cheese torta. Here’s a pic of it for attention. And let me know if you want the recipe. If you have the Titas Family Cookbook, it’s in there and you’re welcome.



The cheese-loving friend used the Parmesan Crisps as a vehicle to eat the torta. I’d call that a success!



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3 Comments


Mary
Sep 23, 2020

Thanks, Kim! I forgot to mention how well they also went as a topping for your great salad!


And Sandi, happy to share. You've been served it many, many times. :)

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sandifrost
Sep 23, 2020

They look delish! Good job, girls! I need the torta recipe!

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Kim Pajer
Sep 22, 2020

I can vouch that the both the parmesan crisps and cheese torta were delish!

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