Parmigiano Reggiano cheese croutons
- 2 ½ oz grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- 3 eggs
- all-purpose flour to taste
- nutmeg to taste
- 7 oz breadcrumbs
- frying oil to taste
Prepare the bechamel by melting the butter over low heat in a saucepan, being careful not to let it burn. Sift the flour and add it to the melted butter, stirring with a whisk to form a smooth, uniform sauce, called roux.
Cook the rouxuntil it becomes a light golden in color, stirring constantly.
Then add the room temperature milk, a little at a time, incorporating it gradually to the rouxwith a whisk, being careful not to let it form lumps.
Once you have added all the milk, bring mixture to a boil and cook for one minute, then add salt and remove from the heat.
Let the bechamel cool, then stir in the grated Parmigiano Reggiano, 2 egg yolks, a pinch of nutmeg and stir.
Pour the mixture into a baking pan, greased with butter or lined with parchment paper, forming a layer that is 1/10 inch thick. Level off the surface with a spoon or spatula, then place the pan in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.
Once firm, remove the pan from the refrigerator and cut into squares or diamonds.
Cover the squares in flour, making sure cover them evenly with flour. Then, dip them quickly in a beaten egg and, finally, cover evenly with breadcrumbs
Once all of the cheese square have been covered, heat up a place a frying pan with enough oil to completely cover the squares. When the oil is boiling, dip two or three cheese squares in the oil, allowing them fry until they are totally golden.
When ready, remove them using a slotted spoon and place them on a plate lined with paper towels.
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Bechamel is one of the four basic sauces that any good cook must know and is an integral part of European gastronomy.
Although bechamel sauce is known as a French preparation, it is believed that the sauce comes from “sauca colla,” a preparation common throughout Tuscany in the sixteenth century. This preparation was introduced in France by the famous Catherine de ‘Medici, when, after her marriage to Henri d’Orleans, she moved to the King’s Court.
There, this white sauce was perfected and codified by the famous chef François Pierre La Varenne, who included it in his “Le Cuisinier français”, one of the founding texts French culinary arts.
The chef, however, decided to dedicate the recipe to Louis de Béchamel, grand chamberlain of King Louis XIV, and thus spreading the conviction that it was he who invented it, probably to win the the favor of the Marquis.
Did you know that…
Bechamel sauce is so famous that it has spawned a well-known Italian aphorism that says: “You do not need to have founded an empire to live in posterity: you just have to have invented a sauce: just look at Béchamel!”
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