Uses for Parmesan Cheese
To enrich the breading for pan-fried or baked chicken, add 1/4 to 1/3 C. grated Parmesan cheese to each C. bread crumbs.
For a fun new taste in muffins, add Parmesan cheese. Preheat the oven to 350Â°F and line 12 muffin C. with paper liners. SautÃ© 4 shallots and 3 garlic cloves in 1 tsp. olive oil then set aside to cool. Whisk together 2 C. flour, 2 tsp. baking powder, 2 tsp. crumbled dried rosemary (or Italian herb seasoning) and 1/2 tsp. salt in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk 1/3 C. olive oil, the cooled shallot mixture, 1 C. milk, 1 egg, and 1/3 C. grated Parmesan cheese. Stir into the dry ingredients until just moistened. Spoon the batter into the muffin C. and sprinkle with another 2 tsp. grated Parmesan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean, about 15 minutes.
For nifty Parmesan cheese baskets, heat a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle about 3 tsp. shredded (not grated) best-quality Parmesan cheese over the bottom of the pan, sprinkling more in the center for stability and less around the edges for a delicate, lacy look. When the Parmesan disk is melted and golden brown on the bottom, 2 to 3 minutes, use a spatula and your fingers to carefully lift it out of the pan. Quickly flip and drape the disk over the bottom of an inverted drinking glass (the golden side of the disk should be on top). Gently press in the sides in a few spots to create folds and the look of an upside-down basket. Let cool until firm, about 5 minutes. When cool, invert and fill with cold chicken salad, tuna salad, green salad, or another cold food. Avoid hot foods as these will melt the cheese again and cause the basket to collapse. The baskets will keep at room temperature for several hours or covered and refrigerated for up to 1 day.
To make Parmesan butter, combine: 1/2 C. (1 stick) softened unsalted butter, 1/4 C. grated Parmesan cheese (preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano), 1/2 tsp. dried oregano, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper. Use on crusty bread or melted over broiled chicken, pork, beef, or shrimp.
To add flavor, color, and aroma to a gratin or other casserole, top with a sprinkling of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.