Cast Iron Pans Cast iron pan owners swear by them for their even dispersal of heat and non stick nature. However, iron is not as happy go lucky as other metals. Initially, the pan must be seasoned with vegetable oil in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for at least an hour. Each time you heat the pan with oil, it will season till it obtains a beautiful dark color. Don't wash off the black patina thinking it is dirty. In fact, never use soap or scour the pan or you will remove the essence of the pan. Dry your iron pan on the stove with medium heat but watch it so it doesn't burn.
My Favorite Pan My favorite pan is a twenty dollar cast iron pan. I remember vividly how my step-father coveted his iron pan and warned us about not using soap to clean it. Seasoned and maintained properly, an iron pan can last forever. It is better than any non stick pan and far more durable. It's thick base holds heat better than any pan in my arsenal and prevents food from burning by dispersing the heat.
These crunchy cheesy puffed parmesan snacks are so easy to make and so tasty, it's going to be hard to keep cheese stocked in your fridge. A minute or two in the microwave and a couple minutes to cool and that's it! You can make them with any hard aged cheese. I used Pecorino Romano but I'd be interested what other people try. Just leave a comment below.
Cut your parmesan rind into approximately 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch. Experiment with the size and type of hard cheese to see what you like best. In fact, these little puffs of cheese are so good, you'll probably just start making them out of the rest of the cheese when the rind is gone. The rind puffs and holds it's shape more while the paste tends to flatten.
Place the cheese chunks on a plate and microwave for 1 to 2 minutes depending on the amount of cheese on the plate and the power of your microwave. You'll have to experiment with the optimal timing. Only took me two tries to figure out 2 minutes was the best amount of time for my microwave.
The cheese puffs are done when they are slightly browned and puffed up to about twice the original size. Immediately remove them from the plate or they may stick. However, wait a couple minutes before eating or they could burn your mouth. Just enough time to start your next batch cause the first will be gone in no time.
I haven't tried it yet but these puffs might be great on a salad. It's going to be hard to stop snacking on them and save enough to top your salad.
This brilliant recipe courtesy of Richard Blais. Richard Blais is one of my all time favorite chefs from Top Chef.