Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Toasted Parmesan

Well I think it is time to let the cat out of the bag.  If you haven't caught on by now, it is time you know the truth...I LOVE PARMESAN!

I also love salads, homemade salad dressing, and my coworkers.  Why my coworkers?  Besides being all around fantastic, many of them seem to have an affinity for growing tomatoes and sharing the wealth.  I have picked up about a dozen or so home grown tomatoes in the last week, and they are fantastic.  I eat them plain with a bit of salt on top, but I was looking at my last remaining beauties tonight and decided I needed to do something special with them.  I decided to roast them in olive oil, balsamic and a spice mix of ground mustard/cilantro/cayenne whilst preparing a salad to go along with the fresh veggies.

Now back to my love of parmesan -- I had shredded parmesan for lunch in a chickpea salad and it was the first time parmesan just didn't do much for me.  I could have done with or without it, so I didn't want to just sprinkle some over my dinner salad.  I decided it was time to get creative, so I picked up some grated parmesan (the kind that looks like powder) at the store.

This creation was pretty genius.  You can jazz it up however you want and I didn't use precise measurements, but it went somethin' like this:

  • Preheat oven to 375* F
  • Lay parchment paper over my version of a cookie sheet AKA a pizza pan
  • Pour about half a cup of parm into a bowl
    • Add garlic powder to taste
    • Add pepper to taste
    • Add Italian seasoning to taste
    • *If you prefer solid measurements, I would estimate about a quarter teaspoon garlic powder, a tablespoon Italian seasoning, and a half teaspoon pepper
  • Mix it all up in the bowl and add to the parchment paper.

Here is where I would change things if making again.  My original intent was to melt the circles into individual servings.  Well I had never really thought about it before, but realized grated parmesan doesn't melt!  When they were done in the oven, I expected to pick each circle off the paper, but they all crumbled, which ended up being a happy accident.  If I were doing it again, I would just spread the cheese in a thin layer over the pan (use parchment paper though).

Cook for five minutes -- mine started to brown at four minutes, so pay close attention and don't exceed five minutes without a VERY watchful eye!

When done, remove from the oven and crumble up.

Now you have something that tastes like a deconstructed crouton -- breadcrumb-like, flavorful, adds a bit of crunch, and, even better, much lower calorie than croutons!  One tablespoon of this stuff is only 20 calories and because of the crumb-like consistency, it sprinkles over your salad quite well.

I ALSO JUST REALIZED THESE TASTE EXACTLY LIKE BREAD CRUMBS! I really think they could replace bread crumbs in any recipe someone is looking to make gluten free.  The flavor options are endless, and the cheese doesn't melt, so it will retain its crumbly texture.  I am going to have to try it out and report back, but I can't imagine there is much more exciting for the gluten-free world than gluten-free breadcrumbs...imagine the frying possibilities it opens up :) Compared to breadcrumbs, the calorie content is about 1/3 to 1/2 as many calories.

1 comment:

Tanya said...

I was just thinking to myself the other day when you were going to blog about parmesan! I love it too :) I love, love, love it on popcorn...yum!