I hate wasting food, and few things frustrates me more than having to throw away perfectly good leftovers or unusable offcuts. I’m always on the lookout for ways to make use of as much of my ingredients as possible.
In the past I always used to discard cheese rinds; however, lately I’ve discovered that with a bit of ingenuity, the natural rinds of certain cheeses can add a huge burst of flavor to a variety of dishes.
One of the most common rinds I end up with is Parmesan. This hard rind can be difficult to cut or grate and often ends up in the bin. However, if you make a point of saving your Parmesan rinds, there are a number of exciting ways to use them in your recipes.
Parmesan infused oil
One of my favorite uses for Parmesan rind is also one of the simplest. Parmesan infused oil is a great compliment to a wide variety of dishes and has a wonderfully tangy and salty flavor. Simply heat up some olive oil in a pan, pour it over some Parmesan rinds, and allow it to steep for a few hours. Once cooled, the rinds can be strained out of the oil.
Stews and Soups
Nothing adds depth of flavor to hearty soups and stews like some Parmesan rinds. Once the soup or stew is at the simmer stage, just throw in a few pieces. If the pieces are small enough, they will slowly dissolve and be fully incorporated into the mixture when it’s time to serve.
Risottos and pasta sauce
When it comes Italian food, few cheeses pair as well as Parmesan. When making a Bolognese sauce or a homemade risotto, try throwing in a few Parmesan rinds to add a little zest. Just make sure you remove the rinds before serving!
One of the best ways to utilize Parmesan rinds is by putting them in stocks or broths. Adding some rinds to a homemade chicken stock infuses the mixture with a wonderful salty element. Alternatively, you can go all in and simply make a Parmesan cheese stock. Simply swap out the protein you usually use in your stock recipe with 1 pound of Parmesan rinds. For a simple stock, you can just simmer a pound of rinds in 8 cups of water.
Just eat them
If none of the above ideas appeal you could take the direct route and just eat the Parmesan rinds! Provided the rind is not made of wax, Parmesan crust can be turned into a delicious snack.
Simply cut the rind into small pieces and place it under the broiler. After a few minutes, the rind will become soft and easy to eat. Alternatively, place a piece of rind into the microwave and cook. You’ll hear the rind popping: once it stops, take it out of the microwave and rest for 2 minutes before eating.