Region: Italy, Friuli-Venezia Giulia
Category: Antipasto, Meze, Tapas, and Hors d'Oeuvres
Difficulty: Medium Difficulty
of the wonderful little antipasto inventions is the frico of the northeastern region of Italy
known as Friuli-Venezia Giulia. Even though it’s simple, it’s a bit tricky to
make. Of course, once you’ve made one
successfully, it does seem so easy. A frico is nothing more than a crisp-fried
cheese wafer made in a small pan with grated cheese. The cheese used for making it is a
three-month-old Montasio, a cow’s milk cheese with a buttery, creamy taste that
melts very well. The difficult part of
making a crisp frico, what is called
locally frico croccante, is knowing
when to remove the wafer from the pan.
If it cooks too long and becomes golden brown, it will be bitter. Montasio cheese can be found in Whole Foods
markets, cheese stores and gourmet markets.
If you can’t find it, you can try using freshly grated
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grating from a large not-dried-out chunk.
[photo: Clifford A. Wright]
Yield: Makes 30 frico
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Extra-virgin olive oil1 pound Montasio, Asagio, or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Rub some olive oil on a paper towel, then use the paper towel to grease a small 7-inch diameter nonstick skillet. Alternatively you can use a spray can of oil. Turn the heat to medium and once the skillet is hot begin grating the cheese over the skillet until the bottom is covered with cheese in a single one layer. Turn the heat to low and cook until very light golden, 1 to 2 minutes, then begin to peel the wafer up in one piece using a rubber spatula and flip to the other side for 30 seconds. Remove the wafer from the skillet and serve at room temperature. If you want to stuff them, place each frico over a clean empty tomato paste can, and fold the sides down to form a cup. Let cool before removing and filling, otherwise, just leave them flat.
for frico: There’s a million, but give
these a try: piece of prosciutto, a small chunk of tomato, mousse (chicken,
lobster, crayfish, ham, tomato, smoked salmon, broccoli, etc.), mayonnaise,
cream cheese (possibly mixed with smoked salmon or other ingredients), foie
gras, spinach puree.