If you have read some of my past posts, like the one about roasting beans (so delicious, by the way!) or the recipe for 2-ingredient coconut macaroons, you know I enjoy a good kitchen experiment. The journey I am taking for Sargento Cheese is up my alley more than they probably realized when they asked me to work with them. I have been testing cheeses I never used before and incorporating Sargento’s products in new and unusual ways as I develop new recipes.
In need of a last-minute hors d’oeurve, I scanned my fridge and noticed the sheer excess of cheese. My mother-in-law adores a thin cheese crisp that she makes in her microwave. I have made Parmesan crisps in the oven or in a skillet on the stovetop, yet had trouble wrapping my brain around microwaving cheese. But as the saying goes, nothing ventured, nothing gained…right?
Because I have made cheese crisps with shredded Parmesan and other hard cheeses, I thought I would start on the other end of the spectrum. Although I was pretty sure microwaving a soft cheese would result in a goopy mess, I began with…I know what you are going to think…a Provolone-Mozzarella cheese stick! They are the two pictured on the top right of the cheese board. I continued with sliced cheese, regular and Ultra Thin. For the standard slices, I tore them in half and folded each half on top of itself, making two crisps from each slice. For the thinner slices, I doubled the slice then doubled again for one crisp per slice.
Each and every time, I was rewarded with another perfect crisp. Two minutes was the average cook time. The Ultra Thin slices were the exception, requiring about a minute and a half. I cut a piece of parchment the size of the glass turntable in my microwave and cooked right on it. After each batch, I removed the crisps to a paper towel, wiped off the parchment (as some of the fat cooks out of the cheese during the cooking process), and reused the same piece of parchment.
The flavorful rounds were light and crispy with a hint of saltiness. I added nothing to them, however. It was just the cheese and the parchment, which made for very easy cleanup! Perfect for a pre-dinner nibble and a novel option to a bowl of nuts. I actually had to ask my husband and kids not to eat anymore until I took a few pictures!
Although I did send a thank you note, I would like to mention that the pretty cheese board and tea towel (on which you can sort of see my name monogrammed in red), were lovely gifts from my friends at Sargento. They were given as a welcome and have already been well used. One thing that really stuck with me when I spent time at the Sargento headquarters outside of Milwaukee in February was a motto espoused by the company: Hire the best people and treat them like family. As I spent time in the facilities, that motto was clearly played out and exemplified by employees who so obviously loved their jobs. Beyond that, I learned that Sargento is truly a pillar of support and voluntarism in their community, helping to build Habitat houses for many decades now. Thought that was worth a mention. I could give more examples, but I should probably get to this easy recipe!
While I used Gouda, Mozzarella-Provolone, 4 State Cheddar and a few others, choose whichever Sargento flavors you like the best or have been wanting to try. I think I tested enough to confidently say that all of these all-natural cheeses should work!
- One or a combination of the following Sargento all-natural cheeses:
- Cheese sticks
- Shredded cheese
- Ultra Thin Slices
- Regular cheese slices
- Cut a piece of parchment paper the size of your microwave turntable and place it on the turntable.
- For the cheese sticks: Cut in quarters and place two quarters side by side on the parchment; you will have two blocks per cheese stick. Make as many as desired, leaving a couple of inches between each one.
- For the shredded cheese: Place slightly mounded tablespoonfuls on the parchment with a couple inches of space between them.
- For the Ultra Thin slices: Fold each slice in half, then in half again, spacing as directed on the parchment-lined turntable.
- For the regular slices: Fold in half and then tear the slice down the middle, forming two pieces. Break each half in two again. Stack two quarters on top of each other, forming two piles per slice, spacing as directed once again.
- Microwave on full power for approximately 2 minutes for all but the thin slices. They will take about 1 1/2 minutes. I recommend cooking for 1 minute, checking, and then microwaving in 30-second intervals (perhaps a 15-second interval at the end) until the cheese is crisp and golden brown.
- Allow to cool enough to touch. Remove to a paper towel. Wipe the parchment with another paper towel and repeat as often as desired.
- Once cooled, eat and enjoy, and store any leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature.
For the introduction to this flavor trend journey along with the top 10 flavor trends as determined by top chef Rick Bayless, click here. And if you would like to see the Pinterest board I created to see other recipes incorporating the ten flavor trends–this board will continue to grow over the year ahead–click here.