coarsely grated parmesan

Parmesan cheese toasts: Rescuing old bread

18 October 2010

Some foods are born of reincarnation. Fried rice; banana bread. These parmesan cheese toasts are another. I love a fresh loaf of good bread, but when it gets old I love it even more in this crunchy, cheesy, peppery remake.

Call it a DNA gift or a defect, I’m genetically unable to throw away food. My husband once invited my parents out to dinner on the eve of a trip they were taking, and my mom said, “No thanks – I still have a carrot and half an onion in the fridge, so I’m going to defrost some chicken and add a some peanuts to make kung pao chicken.” It’s the chinese grandma genetic heritage.

So the other day I had some leftover cream of zucchini soup for lunch and needed a little accompaniment. I had forlorn multigrain baguette in a far corner of my countertop that my kids didn’t much like, so gave it a luxurious drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, perked it up with freshly ground pepper, showered it with coarsely grated Parmesan cheese and let it brown under the hot broiler.

So simple it hardly needs words.

Usually I cut slices for a higher cheese/toast ratio, but I was in a hurry. Good olive oil and fresh pepper. Be generous.

Aged cheeses pack a punch. You don’t need a lot of great Parmesan to make a difference. But a lot is awfully nice.

Take care under the broiler – there’s only a few seconds between brown and black.

So good my soup ended up as an accompaniment to the bread.

By the way, for anyone interested in more food-saving ideas, just had a good article: “Seven tasty ways to stop wasting food.”

Parmesan cheese toasts
Old bread reincarnated into crunchy, peppery, cheesy treats. Perfect with a bowl of soup or plate of pasta.


  • Good quality bread (a few days old and hard is fine)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Good quality Parmesan cheese


  1. Cut bread into thick slices and lay out on baking sheet.
  2. Coarsely grate Parmesan cheese using big holes on a box grater.
  3. Drizzle olive oil over bread slices.
  4. Sprinkle bread with pepper.
  5. Top bread with generous amount of grated cheese.
  6. Put baking sheet under broiler on high until cheese is lightly browned. Watch carefully, as the toasts burn quickly after browning.

Here’s the printable version: Parmesan cheese toasts recipe for printing.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Sue 18 October 2010 at 9:34 am

Love all your recipes! I must have a Chinese gene somewhere because I’m always finding a way to reuse leftovers. Hate to throw anything away. It is hard to cook for just two.


Scott 25 January 2012 at 1:45 pm

Love the parm toasts, but the nice photo has me wondering what kind of soup that is, cream of broccoli perhaps?


cg 25 January 2012 at 4:09 pm

hi scott – yes, broccoli cheese! a favorite of my kids.


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