FOOD & DRINK
02/08/2016 09:24 am ET Updated Jul 01, 2017

The Secret To Buying The Best Parmesan For Your Buck

This is huge.

Any Parmigiano-Reggiano fan knows that saving a couple of bucks with an imitation wedge will never, ever do. The flavor of a fake parm simply cannot compare to that of true parmesan ― and often has an off-putting taste that’ll make you wish you’d gone without altogether. But once you decide to go for the real thing, how can you be sure you’re spending your money wisely?

One way you might have thought to save on parm was opting for the pieces without the rind ― no one wants to pay for something they can’t eat anyway, right? But the folks at America’s Test Kitchen would advise otherwise. Actually, they suggest buying the corner piece of parm. Yes, that’s two edges with rind.

The chefs at America’s Test Kitchen use a lot of Parmigiano-Reggiano in their test kitchen and have always believed that the pieces closes to the rind taste best. Being the curious folks that they are, they organized a blind taste test to see which part of a real parmesan wedge boasted the most flavor. Here’s what they found:

Got to love those tyrosine crystals!

Don’t lament the fact that you have to spend money on parmesan rind to get the best piece of cheese, because the rind is actually a great ingredient in the kitchen. It can make some of the best soup broths. It can also just be thrown straight into a pot of soup as it cooks to enhance its umami flavor by a thousand percent. And, with a little bit of elbow grease, it can be finely grated and used on top of pasta. It is, in fact, totally edible and boasts some wonderfully complex flavors, too.

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