Christmas Canapés from Parmigiano Reggiano

A few weeks ago I was invited to a fabulous lunch with the Guild of Food Writers sponsored by Parmigiano Reggiano.

Simply mix Parmigiano Reggiano and plain flour and spoon rounds of the mixture onto a baking sheet. Grill for a few minutes until golden brown and crisp. Decorate with lemon crème fraîche, hot smoked salmon, fennel and plenty more Parmigiano Reggiano!

Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, known as ‘Parmesan’, is one of the world’s oldest and richest cheeses – still produced today as it was nine centuries ago.  Totally natural – it’s the only cheese that has such an extensive maturation which improves the nutrition, aroma and taste. The use of raw milk and the richness of natural ingredients make this cheese a unique and superior product – It takes 16 litres of milk to produce one kilogram of cheese!  The minimum maturation time for Parmigiano Reggiano cheese is 12 months, but only when it reaches approximately 24 months of age, is it at its best. As well as having fantastic nutritional qualities, it’s easy to digest and is high in calcium.

Parmigiano Reggiano cheese is a PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) product. PDOs are defined and protected by European Union law in order to defend the reputation of regional foods. This mark ensures that Parmigiano Reggiano cheese can only be produced in designated areas of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Bologna to the west of the Reno River and Mantua to the east of the Po River.

Parmigiano Reggiano Crisp Canapés 

Makes 10 canapés

15ml crème fraîche

Finely grated zest of one lemon

Fennel seeds, chopped

Grated and shaved Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, to serve

½ small fennel bulb

75g Hot smoked salmon, flaked

Salt and black pepper

Crisps:

50g Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated

1 tbsp plain flour

  1. Grease and line a large baking sheet with greaseproof paper
  2. Mix Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and plain flour, along with a good pinch of black pepper
  3. Spoon teaspoon-sized rounds of this mixture onto the baking sheet and flatten slightly with the back of the spoon. The mixture should give 10 crisps, make sure there is plenty of space between each one, as the mixture will spread a little
  4. Place the rounds under a hot grill for 2-3 minutes until the cheese has melted to make a golden brown crisp
  5. Remove each crisp carefully using a pallet knife and leave to cool on greaseproof paper
  6. Mix crème fraîche together with lemon zest and season to taste
  7. To assemble, spoon a small amount of lemon crème fraîche on top of each crisp. Then sprinkle with a few fennel seeds, grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese  and finely chopped fennel, before topping with flakes of hot smoked salmon and black pepper
  8. Finally, garnish with sprigs of fresh fennel and serve

Cook’s tip: Make things easy for yourself and prepare ahead. Both the crisps and lemon cream can be made in the morning, just keep the crisps in an air-tight container and refrigerate the cream

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