Parmigiano Reggiano crisp canape topped with hot smoked salmon.
Mitchelle D'Souza, Sub-editor/Reporter
If you're looking to up your cooking game a notch, we have a delicious recommendation you can work with: Parmigiano-Reggiano.
A full-bodied and aged cheese hailing from the Emilia-Romagna region in Italy, this wonder ingredient can enhance the flavour of any dish, elevating it to a gourmet level.
You can find Parmigiano-Reggiano at any of the UAE's leading supermarkets, but be sure to pick the original variety bearing the European PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) stamp.
The marking serves to distinguish the cheese from cheaper imitations of it produced around the world, popularly known as parmesan.
From bite-sized canapés to scrumptious spaghetti, we bring you two exquisite recipes featuring the original, show-stealing Parmigiano-Reggiano. Salute!
PARMIGIANO-REGGIANO CRISP CANAPÉS TOPPED WITH LEMON PEPPER CREAM AND HOT SMOKED SALMON
Makes 10 canapés
15ml crème fraîche
Finely grated zest of one lemon
Chopped fennel seeds
Grated and shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, to serve
½ small fennel bulb
75g hot smoked salmon, flaked
Salt and black pepper
For the crisps:
50g Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
1 tbsp plain flour
1. Grease and line a large baking sheet with greaseproof paper.
2. Mix Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and plain flour, along with a good pinch of black pepper.
3. Spoon teaspoon-sized rounds of this mixture onto the baking sheet and flatten slightly with the back of the spoon. The mixture should give 10 crisps, make sure there is plenty of space between each one, as the mixture will spread a little.
4. Place the rounds under a hot grill for 2-3 minutes until the cheese has melted to make a golden-brown crisp.
5. Remove each crisp carefully using a pallet knife and leave to cool on greaseproof paper.
6. Mix crème fraîche together with lemon zest and season to taste.
7. To assemble, spoon a small amount of lemon crème fraîche on top of each crisp. Then sprinkle with a few fennel seeds, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and finely chopped fennel, before topping with flakes of hot smoked salmon and black pepper.
8. Finally, garnish with sprigs of fresh fennel and serve.
Tip: Make things easy for yourself and prepare ahead. Both the crisps and lemon cream can be made in the morning, just keep the crisps in an air-tight container and refrigerate the cream.
SPICY SPAGHETTONI WITH ROASTED CAULIFLOWER, CAPERS, BREADCRUMBS AND PARMIGIANO-REGGIANO CHEESE
250g cauliflower florets
4 anchovy fillets in oil
1 garlic clove
Extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons breadcrumbs
1 dry red chilli pepper (or 1 pinch of red chilli pepper flakes)
40g desalted capers
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese to taste
1. Trim the cauliflower keeping only the florets. Wash them, drain them and cook in salted boiling water for 3-4 minutes. Drain them again and keep aside.
2. In a non-stick pan heat the oil and add the garlic. Cook until golden, remove it, and add the anchovy fillets. Let them cook until they are almost completely melted, add the chopped red chilli pepper, the capers and the cauliflower florets. Sauté for a few minutes.
3. Pour a drizzle of oil and the breadcrumbs in a second pan. Stirring often, cook until the breadcrumbs are golden. Cook the spaghettoni al dente, drain them and stir in a little Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and cooking water, enough to obtain a cream mixture. Mix in the sauce. Transfer to the plates, sprinkle with fresh thyme and breadcrumbs and serve immediately.
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