I’m a sucker for good quality cheese. I really believe that like many whole foods, cheese is a victim of the food processing industry which has traded the natural ageing process (necessary to produce a food that supports digestion and health) for a ‘faster’ food which has come to cause problems for many.
I especially love the crispy bits that result from cheese that has oozed out of a toastie or the crunchy cheese layer on top of lasagne or my Vegetarian Shepherds Pie. As it happens, so do my kids so there are always arguments when crispy cheese appears. Which got me thinking that I should just make a savoury snack that is crispy cheese, just with a little extra goodness.
I’ve made these with Parmigiano-Reggiano – real parmesan cheese which I’ve discovered over the years that many lactose sensitive people find much to digest than other cheeses. As a general rule, the longer a cheese is aged, the more time bacteria have to break down sugars, resulting in lower overall lactose content. For those with sensitive stomachs, heavily aged cheeses like Manchego and Parmigiano-Reggiano, which are generally aged for at least 18 months, are often well tolerated. Plus, I find a little really satisfies and my whole family just loves the flavour.
As much as I like Parmesan, I also like to inject a little more goodness into the mix, so these crunchy, crispy, cheese bites were born.
- 1 cup grated parmesan
- ½ cup grated carrot and zucchini
- 1 tablespoon chia or sesame seeds
- Preheat your oven grill to 150℃. Line a baking tray with non-stick, baking paper*.
- Grate your cheese and vegetables.
- In a muslin cloth or paper towel squeeze the grated vegetables to remove a bit of moisture.
- Mix the cheese and veggies together and arrange very thin layers on your baking paper (I used an egg ring to shape them).
- Sprinkle over the seeds and grill for 5-7 minutes keeping an eye on them so they don’t burn (I find grills can vary in temperature so keep an eye on them the first time you make them).
- They need to brown and bubble for a minute or two and you’ll smell the parmesan cooking when they are ready.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. They will crisp as they cool (pop them in the freezer to fast track them).
In an airtight container in the fridge or freezer for a couple of days.
Make sure the mix is very thin and cooked for long enough or they won’t be crisp (though still yummy). If they soften, pop them in the freezer for a few minutes to restore a crunch.