Every cook has a favourite ingredient always kept on hand and in good supply. This is mine – a wedge of good parmigiano reggiano. It keeps for weeks in the fridge, and can be enjoyed in countless ways: in pasta, risotto, and salads; biscuits, savoury scones and cheese bread; or simply by itself, in small chunks, broken off and nibbled slowly, perhaps with a glass of red wine.
I broke open a new wedge of parmigiano reggiano today and served it at Sunday lunch, in shavings over this arugula and prosciutto salad, with lemon juice and cracked black pepper to finish it off. Delicious. I first had this salad while having dinner with friends of my brother-in-law’s in Florence, and every time I have it, my taste buds and I go back in time to the meal Auntie Gretchen served us…this salad, followed by a heavenly mushroom and cheese lasagne which I have never been able to duplicate, and for dessert, lemon pie made with freshly squeezed Italian lemons and heaped with snowy piles of meringue. I remember the alabaster lamp hanging over the table in the dining room, and myself walking in to find the cat helping himself to the prosciutto. No matter – there was enough for everybody.