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In this week's edition of "TikTok made me do it," TikTokers are now microwaving parmesan cheese rinds to make a popcorn-esque snack. If that sounds like a lot of nonsense words in the same sentence, I totally understand. But I have to admit that the kids are really on to something with this one.
While many people shy away from eating cheese rinds, you really shouldn't. There's nothing to be scared of. You probably won't enjoy biting into the (actually very edible) waxy coating on a Dutch gouda, but the rind on a wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano is simply just a dried, protective layer of cheese. You want to keep yours on hand to season soups, risotto, and pasta sauces. And now, it can be microwaved into a crunchy snack on its own.
The trick to this popcorn-y snack? Picking up genuine Parmigiano Reggiano, which will be marked with a "DOP" label (which stands for denominazione d'origine protetta). DOP is a labeling marker of origin from the Italian government that is used to preserve the standards of regional food products. Parmigiano Reggiano, like a bottle of Champagne, is strictly only made in certain regions under certain conditions, which means that the rind itself is up to the highest quality standards as well. If you see a cheese merely called "parmesan," walk away. It won't have the rind you need in order to achieve this snack's signature "pop." Don't have a big wheel of Parm Reg at home? Luckily, many grocery stores (like Whole Foods) sell the rinds all by themselves.
According to TikTok (and my own experiments), simply cut your Parmigiano Reggiano rinds into smaller (1/2-inch or so) squares. Then put them in the microwave for about a minute. The cheese will puff up and crackle before turning into a crispy, crunchy crisp of cheesy goodness. This snack will go over like wildfire on your next cheeseboard or cracked over a salad like a much-better crouton.
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