Freakin' Great Frico Cheese Crisps
If you love the crispy bits of cheese that stick to the griddle when you make grilled cheese sandwiches even better than the sandwiches, frico will become your favorite munchie.
Frico are lacy, cheesy, crunchy crackers that are quick and easy appetizers or snacks. They're best when made with real Italian Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese or a high quality American parmesan. It's possible you can use other "parmesan" type cheeses, but I can't guarantee the recipe will work.
Frico can be made on a griddle on your grill, in a frying pan, or in your indoor oven. I usually make them in the oven since time and temp control are pretty critical.
You can serve frico as a garnish for salads or risoto, they can be crumbled on top of stews, soups, and even some meats like grilled pork chops or chicken breasts. For a real thrill, put one on a burger.
Make a big batch. You can store frico in an airtight container for several days. No need to refrigerate.
Frico are super with a slightly sweet fizzy wine like Asti Spumante, prosecco, Champagne, or beer.
Makes. About 16 crisps
Preparation time. 10 minutes
Cooking time. 10 minutes, cooling time 15 minutes.
4 ounces by weight of coarsely grated young Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon all purpose flour
About the cheese. To get the nice lacy effect, it is important to grate the cheese on a box grater using the large holes and to not use more flour.
Optional. You can use other herbs if you wish. Thyme, sage, oregano, and basil, fresh or dried, all work fine. Also, ground black pepper or hot pepper will work just fine too, but you'll see it in the final result. White pepper is invisible.
Optional. If you want to get fancy, top your frico with a daub of creamy cheese like fresh chevre (a goat cheese), crème fraîche, sour cream, whipped cream cheese, or try my boursin recipe. Another topping that is fun is a thin sliver of strawberry or peach.
1) Preheat the grill or oven to 400°F.
2) Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (if you have a reusable silicone baking pad, a silpat, you can use that). Parchment is miraculous stuff, impregnated with silicon, and it is the best way to keep frico from sticking. If you cook frico on the grill, and you use parchment paper, make sure it is not hanging over the edges so it won't catch fire. If you don't have parchment, coat the pan lightly with a high smoke point oil such as olive oil. You can use a griddle or even a frying pan on top of a burner, but the method below is for a baking sheet with parchment, the easiest way to do this.
2) Mix the ingredients in a bowl. Scoop the cheese mix 1 tablespoon at a time and make 1 tablespoon piles on the parchment or silpat. Press each mound to less than 1/8" high, and leave at least 1/4" between piles. Don't make them too thick or they will be chewy rather than crispy.
4) Bake about 8 to 10 minutes on the middle grate of the oven until bubbly and slightly golden. If you use a dark colored baking sheet they will cook more quickly, so watch them carefully. If they brown too much they will be bitter. Take them away from the heat and let them cool for no more than a minute, then work them loose from the parchment paper (easy to do) or the oiled surface (a little trickier) with a thin spatula. Cool for about 15 minutes on paper towels to absorb any oil that was on the cooking surface or that has exuded from the cheese. If you have more than one batch to bake you can use the parchment more than once.
This page was revised 9/18/2010
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