2000s Recipes + Menus

Parmesan Puffs

Makes about 32 hors d’oeuvres
  • Active time:25 min
  • Start to finish:25 min
Egg whites give these quick, cheesy nibbles their exceptionally light texture. Bite-size portions make them the perfect mouth-popping accompaniment to an aperitif.
December 2006
  • About 6 cups vegetable oil
  • 1/4 lb finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (2 cups; see Cooking Tips)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large egg whites at room temperature
  • Special equipment:

    a deep-fat thermometer
  • Heat 2 inches oil in a deep 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat until it registers 360°F on thermometer.
  • While oil heats, mix together cheese, flour, pepper, and salt in a bowl until combined well. Beat whites in another bowl with an electric mixer until they just hold stiff peaks. Fold in 1/2 cup cheese mixture to lighten, then fold in remaining cheese mixture gently but thoroughly.
  • Drop about 8 teaspoons of batter, 1 teaspoon at a time, into oil and fry, turning occasionally, until balls of batter are puffed, crisp, and golden, about 2 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain briefly. Make 3 more batches in same manner, returning oil to 360°F between batches. Serve immediately.
Cooks’ note: Do not use pregrated cheese, or parmesan puffs will not have a delicate texture.
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