A hard, dried cheese made from skimmed or partially skimmed cow's milk, Parmesan has a rich, sharp flavor that is affected by the way the cheese is grated.
Different tools and techniques will help you achieve your desired texture: A vegetable peeler creates large curls, perfect for a Caesar or an arugula salad. Box graters create various textures, from coarse to fine; the smallest holes on a box grater, known as the rasp, will produce light and fluffy grated cheese, ideal for soups or risotto.
Parmesan is best purchased after it has aged for at least 18 months. Wrapped tightly in plastic, it can be stored in your refrigerator for up to 3 months.