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Are You Going to Eat That?

June 21, 2009

This is critical information.

There are two things that are insanely delicious, that you have likely had in your possession and possibly thrown in the trash.

Maybe most of you will know about the two things in this alert.  But even if ONE person learns about these treats for the first time here, this post will have been worthwhile.

The first one involves poultry and the second one involves cheese.

Thing One.

I leaned the hard way not to let my old friend Raf carve a roast bird.  Really, it is unwise to let him carve anything unattended.  And even if you watch over him, Raf is still the one wielding the big sharp carving knife.

He has a habit of eating all the best parts as he is working.  These include crispy edges of skin, rich nuggets of buttery fat, caramelized and browned meat ends, and the oysters of the roast birds.


Every bird, be it chicken, turkey or goose, has oysters – two to be specific.  They are located on the sides of the backbone, tucked away toward the tail.  And when each morsel of meat is plucked from its cavity, it does not look dissimilar to a shucked oyster.  It’s a strange name, to be sure.  But the French have a better name.  According to Mark Bittman, the French loosely translates to “the part that only a fool leaves behind.”

Don’t be squeamish.  It has nothing to do with prairie oysters.  It is just a perfectly delicious, rich and tender bite of dark meat.

But it’s hidden.  So if you don’t know about it, one of two things might happen.  One, the oysters might inadvertently end up in the stockpot.  Or two, your loved ones may take advantage of your ignorance and eat the oysters themselves.  For better or worse I have been teaching young master Fussy about the oysters, and he loves them.

Thing Two.

If I were ever stuck on a desert island, and I was only permitted to eat one cheese for the rest of my life, it would be Parmigiano-Reggiano.  Even as I have dramatically cut back on my cheese, butter, and cream consumption on doctor’s orders, my consumption of Parm-Reg if anything has increased.  Even as my personal economy shrinks, and I find myself making difficult choices, there is always money in the budget for this culinary necessity.  Nothing comes close.

But nobody is going to throw away a piece of Parmigiano-Reggiano.  Or are they?

For years I was under the mistaken assumption that the rind of Parm-Reg was made out of wax.  It’s hard like a wax rind.  It’s been branded which one might expect would be done with a wax rind.  The rind is so hard that cheesemongers need two different knives to cut through it.

Would you believe the rind is made of cheese?
Would you believe you could eat it?
Would you believe it is delicious?

Well, it is.  And it is delicious, provided you prepare it properly of course.  Otherwise you would likely break your teeth.  But it is very simple.  All you need to do is simmer it in liquid for a while.  Not only will the rind add the famous Parm-Reg umami to whatever dish you are making (note: it works especially well with tomato sauce), that impossibly hard piece of rind will break down into a soft dense piece of concentrated deliciousness.

To facilitate this process in the cooking of sauces, I cut my rinds down into square centimeter pieces, and they are good to go after about thirty minutes.  The more time the better.  Larger pieces can be used in big pots of bean soup to replace the bacon or pancetta called for in most recipes.  You will just need to sauté the aromatics in oil.

In the spirit of full disclosure, Mrs. Fussy does not care for the Parm-Reg rinds.  But she also lets me and young master Fussy eat the chicken oysters.  Bless her heart, more goodies for me.

If after trying the rinds for yourself you decide you do not care for them, I would be willing to offer them a very loving home.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Sister of Raf permalink
    June 21, 2009 11:19 am

    How could I not have known about the rinds?

  2. Ellen Whitby permalink
    June 21, 2009 8:53 pm

    I have always associated “Thing One and Thing Two” with Dr. Seuss. Oysters and Parmigiano-Reggiano are a nice change, though. (But not at the same time).

  3. Jennifer permalink
    June 22, 2009 9:41 am

    We always keep the rinds in a baggie in the fridge. They are perfect in minestrone, add a little something something to asparagus soup and as you mentioned they are lovely in sauce. Any soup that has beans or greens (or both) will benefit from the addition of a rind.

    My uncle introduced me to the nibbly bits on the back many moons ago when he was carving one of my roast chickens. He was carving one of my roast chickens because while I may cook very well, I can not carve a chicken to save my life.

  4. June 22, 2009 5:44 pm

    Ah, so THAT’s how you eat the rinds. I always heard they were edible… but next wedge is SO getting used like that.

  5. Tonia permalink
    June 24, 2009 10:53 am

    I agree rinds are so good in Minestrone!

  6. brownie permalink
    June 25, 2009 12:32 pm

    Knew about the oysters, didn’t know about the parm rind. I’ll have to try some soon.

    I have witnessed Raf’s attention to eating what he cuts. As I am a worthless cook, it’s the price I pay for consuming whatever’s left from his finger-food adventures, which is usually delicious.

    I can see how fisticuffs would emerge for one that cooks his own, though.

  7. Mama Ass permalink
    June 29, 2009 8:15 pm

    The girls bought Papa Ass “Rachel Ray’s Cooking With Kids” for father’s day. One of the first recipes the middle child and I made was a kid-friendly Italian soup that called for simmering the Parmigiano-Reggiano rind. I had no idea. You remove the rind after cooking the soup, but it was amazing! And all the kids ate it. I can’t wait to make that one again.

  8. vik permalink
    September 9, 2012 12:19 pm

    is there any place that DOES throw it away that anyone can think of? like how couponers have their hotspot of places/neighbors/stores that toss coupons, are there shops/delis/ANYWHERE that anyone would throw this away? id love to score them for free, i cook with the rinds all the time and love it!

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