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uses for parmesan rinds

I've been collecting these for awhile, but other than adding them to minestrone, what else can I use them for? Seems like there should be something, could they be ground up in a food processor and used like grated parm? But maybe they're too hard for that. TIA for any suggestions

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  1. Mario Batali's "My Two Villages" cookbook has a wonderful balsamic roasted chicken which uses many rinds.

    1 Reply

      3 large eggplants
      1 Tbsp olive oil, plus several teaspoons for garnishing
      4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
      1/2 medium sweet onion, finely chopped
      2 small dried red chilies, crushed
      1 tsp dried parsley
      1 tsp dried basil
      1 15-oz can cannellini beans, drained
      2 c chicken broth
      2 Tbsp sherry
      1/2 x 2" piece Parmesan rind (not waxy)
      1 recipe fresh ricotta cheese
      salt and black pepper

      Preheat the oven to 475 F. Prick the eggplants with a knife, lay them on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake them whole for about 40-45 minutes. Heat the olive oil in a deep pan and cook the garlic, onion, chilies, parsley and basil unti the garlic is softened but not colored (about 3 minutes or so). Cut the baked eggplant in half and scrape all the insides, breaking them up as you go, into the pan. Add the beans and broth. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 20 minutes. Remove about half the soup, puree it and return it to the pot. Stir and season well. It should be creamy, gutsy, and reasonably thick. Season the ricotta with salt and pepper, break it up and stir it into the soup. I served with some olive oil drizzled over the top and warm toasted bread.

      4 Replies
      1. re: HillJ

        Can we have the recipe for the fresh ricotta? This soup sound unusual and interesting, although I can't imagine what it would be like. I love eggplant soup with roasted peppers. What is the source?

        1. re: coconutz


          Thanks for catching that coconutz. I use the homemade ricotta recipe from becks & posh. I like to have ricotta on hand and reserve some for the soup. What is it like?...if you are familiar with Rachel Ray's definition "stewp" ...

          Soup source is a combination of inspirations, my Aunt & Jamie Oliver.

        2. re: HillJ

          I didn't see when you add the sherry or the parm rind. I'm guessing it is with the beans and broth? Is 20 minutes simmering enough to extract flavor from the rind?

          1. re: Ascender

            Oh my what a horrible job I did writing this out in 2007!
            The sherry is added with the chicken broth and once you puree some of the soup you steep the parm rind it that while you prepare the ricotta add in

            Gosh, sorry for the confusion. I really wrote that out half-a&&'d.

        3. My Italian friends tell me Parmesan rinds are given to teething babies.

          1. Put in your tomato sauce.
            Pizza sauce (If you make home made pizza)
            Especially good in chicken cacciatore


            3 Replies
            1. re: Davwud

              The softend rinds after cooking in tomato sauce are a real treat to eat by themselves!

              1. re: Gin and It

                Gin and It my my dh loves to softened the rinds in sauce and then smear on crusty Italian bread. His idea of simply heaven!

                1. re: HillJ

                  There's just nothing wrong with that.


            2. Use when making risotto and remove the rinds before serving.

              1. Risotto, soups, pasta sauce, bean dishes-anything that you think would benefit from the saltiness and flavor of the parmesan. The uses really are endless.

                1. I save rinds in the freezer and then toss them in soups or sauces.

                  1. Cheese rinds are best in soups. I use them also when I'm making greens with a lot of broth. Rinds really taste great when included with boiled spinach and potatoes. Allow them enough cooking time to get all gooey. If you hate spinach, look at the parmesan rind as your 'treat' for cleaning off your plate. This guy agrees: http://www.lfb.it/fff/fumetto/pers/p/...

                    1. I can't speak to the (potential?) botulism factor, but I used to work at a place where we would pack a jar with rinds, then pour good oil on top; let steep for a few days, and you have wonderful parmesan-infused oil.

                      1. I cut them up in pieces and give them to the dogs as treats.

                        17 Replies
                        1. re: Megiac

                          What's the best way to save them?

                          1. re: white light

                            Like bovianita above, I keep (waxless) parm rinds in a tightly sealed freezer bag and bring to room temp as I use them.

                            1. re: HillJ

                              True imported Parmigiano Reggiano is a rindless cheese, meaning the rind forms from the drying of the cheese itself and it is not waxed. So, it is all edible.

                              1. re: ospreycove

                                And some is in wax, so I made mention in case anyone thinks the wax is edible or should go in a soup pot. Thanks for adding to the clarification, ospreycove.

                                1. re: HillJ

                                  How can you distinguish between waxed and unwaxed parmigiano-reggiano?

                                  1. re: Jay F

                                    Jay F In answer to your question; only authentic Parmigiano Reggiano from Parma Italy will have the name on the rind branded into the cheese and no wax. Even though it is more expensive than other domestic "parmesans" the taste is so far superior, as it is aged a minimum of 24 months and many are available in the U.S that are 3 years old. If you go to Sam's Club, B.Js. or COSTCO; all have very good parmigiano Reggiano at good prices.

                                  2. re: HillJ

                                    HillJ....Solution...only use rinds from real, imported Parmigiano Reggiano for soup, sauce, etc.. You are right with the Wisconsin imitations of Authentic Parm. There is a specialty store here that even sells the rinds!!!

                                    1. re: ospreycove

                                      Solution, send more $ :) Just kidding.
                                      Some of the imitation parms have their usefulness.
                                      Thank you for highlighting the differences to Jay F.

                                      1. re: HillJ

                                        HillJ, I find if my budget is a little "stretched", Grana Padano is quite tasty and takes the place of Parmigiano Reggiano, in some dishes; and it is about $4.00 less per pound. It is under $10.00/lb. at COSTCO. It is great as a cheese course or a dessert cheese too.

                                        1. re: ospreycove

                                          I have bought the cheese from Costco and found it to be good and reasonable priced but I love cheese shops and could easily go through lbs. of parm reg w/out much effort.

                                  3. re: ospreycove

                                    "True imported Parmigiano Reggiano is a rindless cheese."

                                    Of course it isn't. The hardened exterior surface, or "skin" of a cheese formed during aging is exactly what a rind is. The number of cheeses that have artificial rinds (wax or plastic) is small compared to cheeses that have natural rinds. Technically, you're correct in saying that natural rinds are edible, but there's a difference between edible and palatable. Some natural rinds are bitter or gritty or have unpleasant mold growing on them or are unusually hard--which is the case with Parmigiano.

                                    1. re: cheesemaestro

                                      but there's a difference between edible and palatable
                                      so true maestro. and is that natural rind texture decided by type of cheese, because of cheesemakers preference, cost or some other factor?

                                      1. re: HillJ

                                        The cheesemaker's preference can be a issue in some cases. For example, some cheddars have rinds and others are rindless because they are aged in Cryovac, which prevents the formation of a rind. These two types exhibit different aging characteristics (Cryovac allows cheddar to age for much longer) and flavor profiles. Some cheesemakers prefer to make rinded cheddars. Others like the rindless type.

                                        What kind of rind a cheese will form is a complex issue that can't adequately be covered in a single post, but there are some basic observations that can be made. First, the longer a wheel of cheese ages naturally (i.e., on a shelf in a room), the firmer and thicker the rind tends to become. So a cheese like Brie that is matured for several weeks has a soft, pliable rind, while a cheese like Parmigiano Reggiano, which ages for over a year and up to several years, has a thick, hard rind. This is also true of the paste. (The paste is the rest of the cheese that is not the rind.) Longer aging leads in most cases to a firmer paste.

                                        Second, molds, yeasts and bacteria play a critical role in the development of many cheeses' rinds. For instance, the stinky cheeses (also called washed rind cheeses) have a characteristic red/orange rind that is produced by a particular bacterium (Brevibacterium linens) that is also responsible for the penetrating odor. Their rind is usually tacky to the touch and can be gritty or bitter. (But not in all cases. The rind of Epoisses is good to eat.) Bloomy rind cheeses, such as Brie or Camembert, have a whitish rind with a fuzzy surface formed by a penicillium mold.

                                        Third, the way a cheese is made affects the rind. For instance, cheeses for which the curd is "cooked" (heated to a high temperature) or have moisture driven out by another method, such as mechanical pressing, tend to form dry, firm rinds.

                                      2. re: cheesemaestro

                                        cheesem....We were specifically refering to the natural rind on Parmigiano Reggiano which the question was; how do you tell a waxless Parm from a domestic imitation "parmesan".
                                        I guess I should have made clear "Edible" rind vs. a wax or plastic rind. In Castelfranco, Emilia Romagna a good friend of mine ,whom We visit every november has many uses for her Parm rinds not the least of which is a savory dish of winter greens roasted with a generous amount of Parmigiano Reggiano rinds, olive oil and proscuitto cotto Zamponi;. A great simple dish for cold nights. I have never experienced "bitter, Gritty moldy Parm rinds. the "unusually hard" is taken care of with the roasting.

                                        1. re: ospreycove

                                          I've never experienced a bitter, gritty rind on a Parm either, but there are certainly other cheeses that have that kind of a rind. The rind of Parm is inhospitable to most molds, but, it's not unheard of for mold to appear. I've seen black mold on a Parm rind in rare cases.

                                          I take it that your the Parm rinds in your Italian friend's dish are meant to be eaten. Are they chewy once roasted?

                                          1. re: cheesemaestro

                                            cheese, The dish I described yields a somewhat chewy, (Less palatable term would be rubbery), texture that tends to bubble up and brown as opposed to melting. At the last few minutes in the oven it is liberally sprinkled with a bread crumb mixture of (I think) oregano, dry chiles, salt and olive oil as a binder. It is really quite good when served as a contoro with meat or fowl. We had it with braised Faraone, (guinea hen). A great dinner!!!!!

                                  4. re: white light

                                    I just save them in a sealed bag in the fridge; they stay good seemingly forever.

                                2. Throw it in the pot when making chicken stock.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: monavano

                                    Or other soups, e.g., vegetable soup.

                                    1. re: cheesemaestro

                                      Definitely, but I put it in there to flavor the stock itself AND another rind when it goes into soup etc.