Saturday, 21 December 2013

Cooking with Parmigano Reggiano

It is always a treat to learn some tricks of the trade from the doyen of Italian cuisine, Chef Valentina Harris so it was with great delight that I attended a Parmigano Reggiano cooking event at Divertimenti Cookery School in London.

As with all Parmigano Reggiano events the prosecco was pouring from the moment I arrived and chatted to fellow attendees.  We had time to sample some canapes provided by Valentina for us, using the 18 month, 24 month and 36 month old cheeses.  We had parmesan lollipops, dates stuffed with parmesan and wrapped with parma ham and grilled and the simplest but tastiest canape - mere chunks of cheese and a dipping bowl of balsamic vinegar - rich and sticky.

Spicy Parmigiano Reggiano Lollipoops

Datteri al Procuitto (& Parmigiana)

Parmigiano al Balsamico

We split into two groups and proceded to make the food that we would later share as a whole group for our meal.

I learned two very important points at this event.  1. Do NOT ever, ever, ever cut Parmigiano with a knife! You use a pick and tease off a chunk and 2. When you think you have enough Parmigiano for your recipe add some more!

Some essential tools, pics, graters, chisels and slicers - all created for serving Parmigano Reggiano perfectly.

For our meal we made a stuffed duck

Fennel gratinato, so simple and easy and a perfect complement to the rich duck.

and a Risotto Parmigiana which would be our starter.

I have never seen a wheel of parmigiano opened before and believe me this was a wonderful experience.  First Valentina used a special chisle to reach through the tough rind and into the cheese itself.  As she moved around the whole cheese you could begin to see the join opening up and when it was almost ready the wheel was turned on its side and CRACK!! it fell into two halves.

This is the freshest Parmigano Reggiano I have ever tasted, just moments after it was opened.

The table was laid out very festively and we all assembled ready to eat the fruits of our labours.

First our risotto - Risotto alla Parmigianna Con il Vino Rosso.

then roasted Anatra con Pien - Stuffed Venetian Duck and Finocchio alla Parmiganna - Fennel gratin.

We sat and enjoyed ourselves and felt very full afterwards!  Walking to the underground station was not an easy task!

Thanks again to Parmigiano Reggiano and Valentina Harris for a lovely evening.

No comments:

Post a Comment