FRICO (twelve Parmesan crisps)

 Appetizers, chips, crackers and other dunkers, frico 1  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

“Little trifles” in Italian, these can be crumbled over salads, into soups, or served as nibbles with drinks.

one 3 ounce piece of Parmigiano-Reggiano

 1 tablespoon all purpose flour (this is optional – Italian recipes usually don’t call for the flour, but some think that adding it makes the frico less greasy)

¼ teaspoon black pepper

pinch cayenne

  1. Preheat oven to 375*.
  1. Using largest holes on a four-sided box grater, coarsely shred enough cheese to measure 1 cup.
  1. Line a large baking sheet with nonstick liner (parchment paper or a silpat liner will work). Stir together cheese, flour and peppers.  Arrange tablespoons of cheese 4 inches apart on liner, stirring cheese in bowl between tablespoons to keep flour evenly distributed.  Flatten each mound slightly with a metal spatula to form a 3 inch round.
  1. Bake frico in middle of oven until golden, about 10 minutes. Cool 2 minutes on sheet on a rack, then carefully transfer each crisp (they are very delicate) with metal spatula to rack to cool completely.

NOTE:  Crisps can be made 3 days ahead and kept, layered between wax paper, in an airtight container at room temperature.  You can use virtually any hard cheese to make frico, and you could add a teaspoon or more of cumin or fennel seeds, finely crushed or ground in a spice grinder, or smoked paprika to vary the flavor.  If your oven is otherwise engaged, lightly grease a large cast iron skillet with extra virgin olive oil and, when the skillet is hot, spoon 2 tablespoons of the cheese mixture for each 3 inch round.  Cook, unmolested, for about 3 minutes, then carefully turn with a spatula and continue cooking for 2 more minutes on the other side.


from Gourmet Magazine, July, 2001

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