Sunday, December 5, 2010

Parmesan Puffs

Saturday was one of those busy days, full of appointments and a few necessary errands; a special day, since it was my first solo outing since recent surgery.  By evening I had no energy left and all that sounded good for dinner was a big salad... and something else, something crunchy and comforting and easy. It would take too much effort to hop back in the car and drive to the local bakery, though Columbia City Bakery's breads and rolls are divine. Instead I turned to an old reliable recipe for Parmesan Puffs, guaranteed to take minimum effort and produce tempting savory bites.

The recipe comes from a useful little cookbook, Gourmet's In Short Order: Recipes in 45 Minutes or Less and Easy Menus. The book includes 100 recipes from the old In Short Order column from Gourmet magazine plus 140 new recipes; it's a useful reference for meals for two that are table-ready in under an hour. As a bonus feature, there's an index of recipes that can be doubled - a handy reference for impromptu company. 

The puffs come together in minutes and bake up quickly, filling the kitchen with their fresh bread/melting cheese aroma long before their crunchy goodness is ready to eat. Since they require only 20+ minutes in the oven, I had to hurry up the Cobb salad assembly. 

Eight Parmesan Puffs might serve more than two people, but not in my kitchen. We did exercise some self control and save two puffs for a morning-after photo op, but I ate one early this morning, long before the sun came up. It was a real challenge to ignore the one remaining puff while I waited for daylight, waiting to do a food shot in natural light. 


Parmesan Puffs
Recipe from Gourmet’s In Short Order, 1993

¼ cup milk
¼ cup water
½ stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
¼ tsp salt
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (or a package of pre-grated, but NOT the stuff in the can))
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 green onion, chopped small, using the green part, or fresh herbs (optional)

In a small heavy saucepan combine milk, water, butter and salt; bring it all to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to moderate, add flour all at once and beat the mixture with a wooden spoon until it leaves the side of the pan and forms a ball.

Remove it from the heat and transfer the mixture to a bowl, whisk in the eggs, 1 at a time, whisking well after each addition; stir in the Parmesan and pepper (and finely minced scallions or herbs, etc. if you choose).

Drop batter in 8 mounds on a buttered baking sheet (or silpat). Bake puffs in upper third of a preheated 400 oven for 20 minutes, or until crisp and golden. (my oven takes 27 minutes)

The puffs may be kept overnight in an airtight container, if you have any left over. (This is never an issue in my kitchen.)

Serve puffs as an hors d’oeuvre or an accompaniment to soups, meats and poultry.

Makes 8 puffs

At different times I have added scallions, minced fresh Rosemary, finely diced jalapenos with good results. Just don't add too many flavors at the same time - let the Parmesan star.

Grated cheddar with cayenne and/or Spanish pimenton (smoky paprika) is another tasty variation of this cheese puff recipe.

1 comment:

  1. That look yummy. I really need to go find some breakfast. Happy Jolly Winter to you.


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