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Quick Tip Tuesday: Parmesan Rind

It’s Tuesday, and I’ve got a quick kitchen tip to share with you. Which means I’m hereby christening today Quick Tip Tuesday. Should I happen to have another quick kitchen tip for you, and should it happen to fall on a Monday, well, I guess I’ll have to hold it back for a day. Rules is rules.

So, let’s talk Parmesan rinds. You’re grating your own cheese, right? Parmigiano Reggiano, the aged, crumbly-salty-crunchy cheese that is (literally) the only type I’ll eat out of hand, is a luxury item that’s totally, 100%, unquestionably worth it. I even wrote about it for Weight Watchers! But when you buy a hunk of the good stuff, it always comes with a section of the rind attached, with at least a portion of the words “Parmigiano Reggiano” visible—this proves that it really is Reggiano, since use of the name is strictly regulated by the Italian authorities.

When you’re paying $15 a pound for a hunk of cheese, you sure as heck don’t want to waste any of it. But that hard rind is inedible as-is, so it’s tempting to just toss it. Don’t! Instead, stick it in the freezer, and next time you make soup, sauce, or some other long-simmering recipe that includes ample liquid, toss it in, still frozen. The heat of the cooking food will soften the rind and release umami—an intoxicating, nearly indescribable savoriness—into the dish. Or go whole hog and made Cheese Broth, using nothing more than rinds and cold water, as described in The Frankies Spuntino Kitchen Companion & Cooking Manual.

The best part: After a long, hot bath, that hard, inedible rind becomes soft enough to spread on bread and eat! Zero waste, and huge taste.

To get you started, here are some recipes from Words to Eat By that use Parm rind:

What’s your favorite kitchen tip? And what kind of tips are you looking for?

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. NoPotCooking

    I do this all the time, even though I use it up pretty much all the way to the rind because I love it as much as you do!

  2. Vera Marie Badertscher

    This is, bar none, the best kitchen tip I've ever seen. The gauntlet is dropped–can you top this?

  3. debbie koenig

    Wow, Vera, thanks! I'm honored! As for topping it, well, I can't be sure since one person's revelation is another's old news, but I do have a million of these tips. Perhaps I'll make Quick Tip Tuesday a regular thing 😉

  4. TheUrbanMum

    I use this and agree the melty, gooey cheese is THE BEST to eat, mine usually doesn't make it to the bread – I scoff it standing at the sink…
    I also like to boil extra oranges and after blending them (skins and all) pop them in the freezer so I am always ready to make Orange Almond Cake a la Claudia Roden.x

  5. debbie koenig

    Smart trick, UrbanMum! I use that same concept–prepping too much of something you use often, and freezing the extra–for things like brown rice, chicken broth, etc. For some reason I don't usually do it for sweets! Well, I do keep chocolate chip cookie dough balls in the freezer for ready baking…

  6. Anonymous

    If you can afford to find/buy an entire half of parmigiano (it's about 20-30kg depending on size)….

    If you have it cut orizontally to get two tround pieces…

    You can dig one to get cheese….
    Once it's almost finished, you can use the remaining as container for "cappelletti in brodo"

  7. Anonymous

    i'm Italian (that is said due to my not perfect english, not to give my statement any support) and my parents taught me when the Parmigiano is finished to grab a fork, and directly cook the rind on the flame on your kitchen. You must be careful not to burn it; with this method you can directly eat it (pay attention to use another fork, as the one used to cook will be really hot!).

  8. debbie koenig

    Anon 1, that sounds INSANE. I mean, insanely good.

    Anon 2, your English is just fine. And I love that tip! I can totally see myself standing in front of my stove, toasting my rind over an open flame… Wait, that sounds dirty.

  9. Tricia

    Saw a recipe for soup with Parmesan Rind & couldn’t imagine using it in soup. I probably would have tried to grate it! Thanks so much for the tip! Agree with you Parmigiano is well worth the money. Love it! Can’t wait to try my soup recipe now!!

  10. NC

    A little late to the party here, but you could also try microwaving small pieces of rind until they expand and become bubbly and slightly browned. Try 20 sec at full power to start. If you eat them warm, they’ll be rubbery, but if you let them cool to room temp, they will be crunchy. It’s a fun trick.

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