RECIPE: Parmesan with a twist

THE Silly Season is nigh and if you're anything like me, you will have a succession of visitors over the coming weeks. I like to keep a couple of nibbles on hand for the drop-ins. Potato crisps, dips and the like are always handy, but here's a recipe for something delicious and easy to make.

You can bake these Parmesan crisps up to a week in advance, and keep them in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. I wouldn't waste the very good aged parmesan on this recipe; the plastic-sealed rectangular blocks available in the supermarket will suffice.

Parmesan crisps

INGREDIENTS:

 120g parmesan cheese  

  1/3 tsp ground cayenne pepper  

 freshly ground black pepper, to taste  

 1 tsp dried mixed herbs

METHOD: Preheat oven to 200°C. Line an oven tray with baking paper. Finely grate the cheese using a Microplane to get very fine curls.

Scoop up half a tablespoon of cheese and place it on the prepared tray; use the spoon to gently spread it out to a 45mm circle. Don't pat it down. It's preferable to have some gaps to achieve a light, lacy crisp. Repeat until the tray is full, leaving at least 10mm between circles. You will use about half the cheese per batch.

Sprinkle each of the cheese circles with a tiny pinch of cayenne pepper, followed by some mixed herbs. Bake in the oven at 200°C for five minutes or until cheese is golden brown, rotating the tray halfway through.

Remove from oven and cool for a minute on the tray, then loosen each crisp with a thin knife blade and slide onto a wire rack to cool.

Repeat with the remaining cheese, twisting a pepper grinder lightly on each one, followed by the mixed herbs. You should be able to bake all the crisps in two batches.

Email Maggie at maggies.column@bigpond.com



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