Frico – Parmesan Crisps
Have you had Frico?
Frico are beautiful, lacy and crisp rounds made out of a variety of hard cheeses, usually with Parmesan or Parmigiano-Reggiano. But you can use Manchego or any other hard cheese as well.
The science is that as the cheese bakes and melts, it spreads out thinly and the dry cheese creates the lacy pockets that make it so pretty…and crispy when it re-hardens.
You can add other things to the cheese mixture before you bake it like cracked pepper, chopped drier herbs, or even spices like paprika or chili powders.
I am going to show you a simple Parmesan recipe today since Parmesan is readily available to most everyone. I wouldn’t advise making this with that green stuff from a can though, as I can’t testify to whether it will make Frico or not. I also can’t testify as to whether it’s truly cheese, but that’s another story entirely.
So to start, grate up one cup of Parmesan cheese.
I used my Microplane grater and it’s pretty fine. I would say the finer shred, the better, so if you’re using a box grater, I wouldn’t use the largest holes, but you don’t want powder either.
Take approximately two tablespoons and drop it as a mound onto a baking sheet lined with a Silpat mat or parchment paper.
You could try it straight on the cookie sheet, but I probably would just invest in a box of parchment paper. It’ll rock your world by keeping cookie bottoms from burning and also keeps you from having to scrub a pan (Nothing worse than scrubbing burnt cheese I think).I have the large baking sheets and I only fit six on a pan. This recipe should make twelve fricos, so plan on doing two pans, leaving room in between each pile for melting and spreading.
Take your fingers and lightly press out the mounds into flat rounds of about 3 inches.
You can also use a fork, if you’re that picky type about touching things. I wash my hands thoroughly so I can have license to play with my food.
Catch any stragglers and push them back into an edge of a round.
If the frico are too thick, they’ll be chewy, too thin, they will break too easily. Try to get similar to the thickness on this picture.
Pop these into a 375º oven and set the timer for six minutes.
After six minutes, have a look at them. You want to remove them from the oven when the edges are turning golden, but not the centers. They will still be glistening with oil at this point, so they may not look like they are done but they will be when they harden.
If you’re going to use them just as is, take a sharp edged spatula and work it under the edges, and they will come right off your baking sheet.
Place them on a paper towel to absorb excess oil. These would be wonderful floating atop a bowl of soup or stew. You could also stack them up on a hors d’oeuvre platter or cheese platter along with some fruit and soft cheese for a fun twist on things.
You can also add the things I mentioned above, like cracked black pepper, or herbs to the cheese before forming your frico on the baking sheets. Here I’ve added some chopped rosemary, which is one of my favorite flavors to go with the parmesan.
I kind of like the flecks of green in the final product.
If you want to try something a little more fun and advanced, right after you remove your pan from the oven (and you’ll have to work quickly), you can mold your Frico in a variety of ways.
Roll them around a bottle or rolling pin to make Frico “chips” (kind of like Pringles are shaped).
Low- carb diet people could use these as an alternative to chips for things like salsa or guacamole, though keep in mind, they do have tiny holes throughout them so thin things would drip through.
You can also roll them around a round handle of a wooden spoon to make tubes if you’d like to stick them out of a salad or thick soup as a cool decoration.
I think you could also fill them with something yummy like a goat cheese mousse peppered with cut up sun-dried tomatoes and bacon for a creative and delicious appetizer.
Another way to mold your Frico is to push them down into mini-muffin tins to make little tulip shaped cups.
These could be fun filled with halved cherry tomatoes and basil as appetizers, although I don’t think I would use regular chopped tomatoes as they might make your cups soggy. How about a tiny lettuce filled salad inside a Frico cup topped with bacon?
Good luck making these and NOT devouring them on the spot. They are fun and delicious little crispy wafers of deliciousness!
Come back and tell me how you use your Frico!
- 1 c. finely shredded Parmesan, Parmesan Reggiano, manchego,or other hard cheese
- Optional – 1 T. herbs, like rosemary or thyme, finely chopped
- Preheat oven to 375º.
- Line baking sheet with Silpat mat or parchment paper.
- If using herbs, Mick evenly into cheese.
- Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of cheese into rounded, shaping with fork or fingers to push in straggling pieces on baking sheet.Flatten them to 3 inches in diameter. Leave space between each round for melting as it may slightly spread.
- Bake 6-8 minutes or just until the edges begin to lightly brown.
- Use a small spatula to lift the edges and remove to paper towel- lined plate.
- Store in an airtight container in refrigerator by placing in between layers of wax paper for 3-4 days.
- Lovely to stack on a cheese plate with fruit and tampanade. Float in tomato basil soup as a beautiful garnish.
- Mold carefully around a small bottle or rolling pin to make chip shapes for scooping or stick out of thicker soups.
- Roll gently around the round handle of a wooden spoon to form tubes to fill. Pipe things in with a pastry bag or a baggie with the corner cut off. Fill with a goat cheese mouse with chopped sundried tomatoes.
- Gently push them into a mini muffin tin or mold them over a cork to make cups for appetizers. You could fill them with any number of ideas –chopped cherry tomatoes and basil. Or build tiny salads inside.