Parmesan Nests with Tomato Pear Compote

I’ve been reading through so many food magazines, I can’t even remember where I saw the recipe for these cool little parmesan cups. But they looked like little intricate (and tasty) lace. They are simple enough… just grate some cheese, put it into little piles on parchment and bake until they get nice and and melty, and then drape over the bottom of a glass to create little nests.

It took a couple of tries to get these right. My first batch turned out too crispy, and weren’t flexible enough to drape. They just stayed flat, like really thin crackers. On try #2, I tried fresher parmesan as well as some guyere. I tried one of each cheese as well as one mixture of the two. I’ll tell you quickly, I don’t recommend the guyere for these. It’s too greasy, and you’ll end up mopping up a ton of oil and very chewy rather than crispy cups. The parmesan-only cup turned out well though, so I got to finish the dish on round 2.

Then, came the filling. I’ve been out several times over the past couple of weeks and had some amazing fruit and tomato salsas and sauces. I had a pear on hand, so decided that a tomato and pear compote might just work. The fruits with a bit of onion, fresh fennel, black pepper and fig balsamic vinegar was wonderfully tart and sweet, and a nice balance for the nutty slightly salty nest. The onions I used were a tiny bit overpowering, so I’d recommend using one that was very sweet and mild, or even using green onions instead. Otherwise, this was a really nice combination.

Parmesan Nests
Preheat oven to 350F. Grate a fresh parmesan cheese, about 1/4 cup per nest. Pile onto parchment on a baking sheet, and spread out into about 4 inch discs, leaving at least a 1/2 inch between them. Bake until slightly bubbly. Remove from oven, and cool just until you can lift the discs off. Don’t wait too long, or they will be too crispy. Drape over a glass, dabbing off any excess oil with a paper towel if necessary. Allow to completely cool before removing.

parmesan nest with tomato pear compote

Tomato Pear Compote
(measurements per nest)
1/4 cup cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup firm pear
1 T onion
1 T fennel leaves
2 t balsamic vinegar
freshly cracked black pepper

Finely chop the tomatoes, pear, onion and fennel leaves. Mix together in a small bowl, and add 1 teaspoon of the balsamic and some pepper to taste. Let sit for about 5 minutes. Scoop into a nest, and top with the remaining vinegar and a sprig of fennel.

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  • http://www.beaskitchen.com/blog Bea at La Tartine Gourmande

    Lovely looking little nests. Your compote looks very yummy, especially with the sweetness of the pear. I had to laugh when I saw the pic as I made the same nests a week ago for a post very soon 😉

  • http://www.makingfoodeatingfood.blogspot.com/ iamchanelle

    i love parmesan crisps! i use those for salad garnish…perhaps you could rescue the ones that remained flat for such a use. :)

    the idea of the pear with tomatoes – very creative!

  • Angelica

    I love that recipe, too! I made the eggplant salad as written here… tasty. http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/eggplant-salad-in-parmesan-cups

  • http://hungryinhogtown.typepad.com rob

    This dish is fascinating, though I’m especially intrigued by the combination of pear, tomato, and parmesan. I applaud your creativity.

    I’ve actually been doing a little cooking with parmesan myself. I hope to have a post up soon too.

  • http://www.cookandeat.com/ L

    Bea – Thanks! I’m looking forward to seeing yours…

    Chanelle- good idea to use them in a salad. I just ate them up plane, like chips. :-)

    Angelica – Ah! That’s where it was. I realize when I went to write it up, I couldn’t remember where I had seen it… and finding it again in a stack of 10 food mags was going to take a while…

    Rob – It was quite tasty. In particular, I think the fennel in it tied the tastes together. Of course, you have to like fennel for that to work for you… I’ll look for your parmesan post!

  • http://mylifeasareluctanthousewife.blogspot.com/ Gabriella True

    looks incredible. first of all your photography is so incredible. And the ingredients sound fabulous. I read a mag article recently too with the parmesan crisps and ripped it out for my pile of recipes I will never get to.

  • http://www.cookandeat.com/ L

    Thanks Gabriella!

    I’ve certainly been guitlty of that too… I have far more recipes than I could possibly ever make…

  • http://mylifeasareluctanthousewife.blogspot.com/ Gabriella True

    And I just ripped out more today! Hopeless.