Parmesan Powder Suitcase
A cheap Parmesan shaker is not Parmesan Reggiano. “Real product” – nutty, slightly fruity and filled with spicy crispy crystals. This is a sumptuous cheese, an unusual cheese for boys, a cheese that you should enjoy in fluffy heaps on top of the finest pasta. The cheese sold in the green shaker is not Reggiano Parmesan, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have it with you.
Shaker parm, as they call it in my apartment, is actually a good product. The Parm shaker sits somewhere between pre-shredded cans of Parmesan-style cheeses and Kraft Dinner powder bags. It offers two flavors: salty and generally cheesy. It is not sophisticated, but it tastes good, especially when taken as it is: a chorus girl who should provide great background aromas. (You see, Parmigiano-Reggiano is a diva.)
The most obvious advantage of using a shaker machine is cost. You don’t have to be precious with it, and you don’t have to worry about hiding its quirky taste with other aggressive ingredients. The second, less obvious advantage is cellulose. Although there has been a lot of controversy around ” wood pulp in cheese “, cellulose is a very common food additive that is added to all types of grated cheeses to keep them from sticking together. (However, read the label and price tag and make sure you’re not paying trendy cheese prices for cheese powder. The shaker should be cheap .) This less sticky cheese powder is actually perfect for three of my favorite things. : popcorn, salad dressing and pasta (with some caveats).
Portland is a hip popcorn town. We love it in our wine bars and love it as a playful appetizer to the table. When I was first served a pile of whipped corn with a bunch of finely chopped real fresh corn, I was in awe. What a luxury, I thought as the plate was placed next to my local wine flight. But then, when I ate the popcorn, I realized that this is not the kind of popcorn that I can mindlessly chew from a bowl; it required a fair amount of concentration. Instead of grabbing small handfuls of cheese-topped popcorn, I had to make up small chunks from puffed kernels with tiny heaps of cheese on top. (Obviously it was still tasty, just very messy for the setting.)
Thanks to its light, fluffy texture, the shaker clings to the popcorn for a cheesy umami and a touch of salt. I recently combined it with nutritional yeast and monosodium glutamate to create the perfect popcorn condiment, I believe.
There’s a lot going on in bandaging. At least you have oil, acid, and some form of sugar; mustard is often involved. This competitive environment isn’t ideal for showcasing cheese that you paid $ 15 a pound for. Parma shaker, however, thrives here. It adds a cheesy flavor and even a bit of funky depth, scattering and hanging in a bandage like in a dream. My favorite dressing that uses shredded parma is maple vinaigrette , which works great with shredded Brussels sprouts .
I’m not going to suggest that you cook cacio e pepe with a shaker because today I don’t want to be yelled at. The reason this dish only needs four ingredients is because one of those ingredients – cheese – is so good that nothing else is needed. But one problem with real cheeses is that they can get oddly fibrous when stacked in hot paste, especially if you don’t take the time to grind them very finely (I’m talking about a microplane). Whether you’re preparing a pantry-style meal or just want something hot, salty, and cheesy, the shaker can be used to make a delicious, rich (non-pungent) sauce. My buddy Jeff – you all remember Jeff – actually prefers to use him over expensive things. “If it’s pasta, garlic, olive oil, chili and yeast peppers with a little water for the pasta,” he explained to me, “that’s all I need.”
One and a half cups of powdered cheese per pound of pasta is enough, just remember to break all the pieces before shaking to help spread evenly. Prepare the pasta according to package directions, then add a glass of pasta water to a large pot of garlic and pepper – and whatever else you want – sizzling in olive oil. Let it simmer for a couple of minutes, then add the pasta and then the cheese, stirring constantly to coat it. It’s a cheap, hearty, cheesy meal – perfect for making your way easier during these colder autumn months.