Thin and crisp frico are a deliciously simple Italian snack that are made with just one ingredient. Typically prepared with grated Parmesan, frico can be used as an elegant garnish, served as a snack, or offered as an appetizer before an Italian meal.
A thin layer of shredded or grated cheese is spread in a freeform circle on a baking sheet and then cooked in the oven. It can also be prepared in a frying pan and melted until the cheese becomes crisp and malleable. When the frico is still warm, it can be gently formed into various shapes such as baskets or bowls to hold other foods. Once cooled, the cheese becomes deliciously crisp.
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
Gather the ingredients. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
Working in batches, scoop 1 tablespoon mounds of finely grated Parmesan cheese onto the prepared baking sheet. Evenly spread each mound about 3 inches wide and space at least 1-inch apart.
Bake until light brown and melted, 5 to 6 minutes (check occasionally while baking to ensure they don't turn too brown). Remove from the oven. Repeat with remaining batches.
It is possible to shape a frico into different forms. It is necessary to work quickly while they are still warm since they harden as they cool. To form tuile-like shapes, gently roll a warm frico around the handle of a wooden spoon.
To form cups, drape over an inverted mini muffin pan or over small inverted prep bowls.
Cool completely on the baking sheet and enjoy!
- A few twists of freshly cracked black pepper can be added for a "cacio e pepe" style variation.
- Use Grana Padano cheese for a slightly different flavor.
How to Store
Let the frico cool completely and store in an airtight container for up to three days. Eat them fresh for best results.
What Does Frico Mean?
Frico refers to two Italian dishes: the thin and crisp frico, which are crackers made solely of melted cheese, and Frico Friulano from the northeast region of Italy. This traditional, soft version of frico was originally created as a way to repurpose leftover cheese rinds into a new dish. It is prepared with a high-fat cheese such as Montasio and combined with other ingredients such as potatoes, onions, and sometimes other leftover vegetables. The potatoes and onions are thinly sliced and cooked in a large frying pan with butter or olive oil. An equal amount of shredded cheese is added to the pan and then the mixture is pressed to form a thin cake. It is cooked until the cheese melts and becomes crisp and golden brown. The cake is then carefully flipped over to brown the other side. Frico Friulano is then cut into wedges and served with polenta and a glass of Italian red wine.