Parmesan crisps: 15 minutes to make, seconds to devour...

Also: Shatteringly crisp skin-on pork belly, Korean Army Stew, and the sadist behind the Carolina Reaper pepper

You can buy a less-than-ideal version of the tastiest, cheesiest crackers you’ll ever eat, but honestly, parmesan crisps are much better when homemade and so stupidly easy to make you’ll have to deal with multiple thoughts and emotions warring within yourself the first time you scarf down a batch —

  • “Why the hell haven’t I made these before?”

  • “Knowing how easy these delicious fuckers are to make is kinda dangerous”

  • “I wonder how expensive a whole wheel of Parmigiano-Reggiano is?”

  • “Did I really eat that entire batch already?”

  • “fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck”

There are dozens of different versions of this recipe online, but honestly, all you need for success are the following:

  • 5 oz shredded or grated parmesan (Parmigiano-Reggiano is obviously ideal here, but anything besides the stuff in the can will likely do. A lot of supermarkets will have refrigerated shredded or grated parm in tubs or pouches — while I normally wouldn’t recommend using this stuff, for this recipe it seems to behave a little better in the finished cracker, as it’s just a little drier — if grating/shredding your own, you can take the optional step and spread your cheese out on a baking sheet to let it dry in the fridge for an hour.)

  • black pepper

  • garlic or onion powder

Seriously, that’s it.

Preheat an oven to 400°F, and line 2 baking sheets with Silpat (or parchment paper, but silicone mats are better.)

Using your fingers (if shredded) or a tablespoon (if grated), make 12 roughly 2” discs or piles on the baking sheet with the cheese, leaving plenty of space between. If the parm is shredded, don’t worry about keeping the edges neat, just make sure the pile is even and not too tall. If grated, you can use the spoon to create neat, even circles.

Place baking sheets in oven for 3-10 minutes, checking every 2. (The time range is so wide because everyone’s ovens are different, and honestly, I’ve had these be golden brown and delicious after 4 in one oven and barely done after 8 in another. Just make sure you’re checking regularly.) Switch sheet positions halfway through baking.

When edges are lacy and golden brown, pull sheets from oven. (You can wait until the entire cracker is golden brown, but be careful not to let it go too far, as you can this stuff can burn quickly.) Dust with pepper and just a pinch of garlic and/or onion powder, and let cool. Use a thin spatula or bench scraper to move crisps to whatever plate or container you’re using, though if you’re smart, you’ll put most of the batch DIRECTLY INTO THE FRIDGE, setting aside two or three for an immediate, refined snacking experience.

Or just take the one of the baking sheets directly into the TV room and go HAM while watching The Good Place, you monster, I won’t judge.


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Things you should make:

  • You may need to talk a butcher or the person at your meat counter into giving you a SKIN-ON pork belly for this crispy roast — but hopefully you can find a slab, and if you don’t skip the drying step, you will get porchetta-level crispiness with a minimum of fuss. (resist the urge to salt/season overnight — you won’t need it for this implementation. Lightly salt the scored skin right before cooking.)


More food stuff:


Things you should watch and/or listen to:

  • Ever wondered what kind of sadist would develop the world’s hottest pepper (and continue to grow and work on breeding even hotter motherforkers?) Meet Ed Currie (yes, the last name is FORKING CURRIE)


That’s it for this edition of The83K newsletter. If you have any tips or suggestions for things you’d like to see here, please drop me a line at the83k@gmail.com