There are any number of reasons why someone might want to swap out the croutons on their salad for an alternative source of crunch. Maybe they're doing the low-carb thing or following a keto diet. Maybe they're celiac or gluten-free. Maybe they just don't like how croutons tend to turn soggy if the salad isn't eaten fast enough. Whatever the reason, there's a fun solution that will not only add a fantastic crunch to any salad but will pack a wallop of flavor as well: Cheese crisps.
The cracker-like goodies are a tasty snack all on their own, so there's a good chance you're already familiar with them. If you're not, just picture cheese that's been heated long enough to melt and then crisp up into a crunchy wafer. Cheese crisps make a great alternative to chips and are perfect for dipping. They're also delicious as a scoop for soup and as replacements for the fried tortilla in taco salads. So it's really no surprise that they also make fantastic and versatile crunchy salad toppings.
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Cheese Crisps Are Super Easy To Make
Cheese crisps don't have to be made any certain way, it's really only a matter of cooking the cheese past the melty point until it gets crunchy. Some people like to use the oven, while others prefer to use a pan or a griddle on the stovetop. And while shredded cheese is the most common ingredient, it's actually possible to use sliced cheese on the stovetop instead. It just depends on whether you want a lacy look or prefer a smooth, solid crisp. The crisps can even be made in any size -- from bite-size crisps to full baking sheets.
When baking cheese crisps, you'll want to set your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and add the shredded cheese, either in clumps for smaller crisps or cover up to the entire sheet to make one giant crisp (you can break it into whatever size you like afterward). The cheese will cook up within a matter of minutes so be sure to monitor it closely -- otherwise, you'll end up with burnt, inedible crisps. There's no need to flip oven-baked crisps but they will need to be removed between the four and nine-minute mark. Alternatively, if you would rather make the crisps on the stove, heat a pan between medium and medium-high. Shredded or sliced cheese can be used, but you will need to flip it once the middle starts to bubble and the edges get crispy.
What Kind Of Cheese Should You Use?
Cheddar is one of the easiest cheeses to work with, whether you're shredding it or using slices. So if it's your first time making cheese crisps, you might feel more comfortable sticking with the classic. However, cheese crisps can be made from a variety of cheeses. As long as the cheese melts first and then forms a crust it will work. Pre-sliced Swiss and pepper jack both make excellent crisps, as does shredded parmesan, for example. Admittedly, sliced mozzarella is a little harder to work with on the stovetop due to how gooey it gets, but the shredded stuff still has the ability to form nice crisps in the oven.
As with flavored croutons, different types of cheese crisps can be paired with a variety of salads. Make parmesan crisps for an elevated Caesar salad or bleu cheese crisps for your favorite pear walnut or wedge salad. The options are almost limitless, so feel free to experiment to your heart's content. And whether you're following a keto diet or just can't stomach gluten, you won't be missing the usual croutons once you get started with this fun alternative.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.