Fricco are lacy “crackers” made of cheese. They are great as a garnish and can elevate the most humble dish into something elegant. They can be shaped how you like by using a mold on the flat cooking surface, or you can drape the fricco over a mold so as it cools it will take that shape. At one restaurant we form strips of fricco that we then wrapped around a bottle to form rings that went around baby romaine leaves for a salad. Save the shattered bits for sprinkling on salads or into soups or eggs.

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup of dry cheese such as Parmesan, Romano, aged Jack, or a mixture
1 tablespoon All Purpose flour
A few grinds of fresh black pepper
2 sturdy sheet pans
Parchment paper or Silpat (non-stick silicone) mats
A tuna can, top, bottom, and label removed and thoroughly cleaned

 

METHOD:

Pre-heat oven to 400°.  Grate cheese on medium or fine holes of a grater.  Put cheese into a large bowl, and sprinkle lightly with a couple pinches of flour. Add the pepper, and gently toss to mix the ingredients (Tossing too vigorously will break up the strands of cheese).

Place the parchment or Silpats on the sheet pans. Place the tuna can/ring-mold in one corner of the sheet pan and gently pinch up some of the cheese mixture and place it in the ring. Spread it around inside so it is not too thick, but not so there are a lot of holes. It should resemble lace or a fine net. (Not more than a Tbsp per “cracker”).

Repeat to cover the pan, leaving 1 inch between each fricco.

Place in the center of the oven. While one cooks, prepare the next pan.  After 5 minutes, check the first pan. The fricco are ready when the cheese is uniformly melted and a beautiful golden color. Remove the pan from the oven, put in the other one, and use a thin bladed spatula or turner to transfer the fricco to a marble board, cutting board with parchment on it, or some other smooth cool surface.

Repeat until the cheese is used up.

Store in a box with tight lid, with sheets of paper between layers.

 

Chef’s Notes and Tips:

If the fricco burn around the edges, cook unevenly, or smell strongly as you cook them, turn the heat down. You will have to experiment to figure out the best way to achieve the desired results. Every oven is a little different, and you will find that cheeses vary as well- cheese to cheese, time of year for the cheese, ambient humidity in the house, all these things can make a difference.

Fricco can be shaped just as tuiles (lace cookies) can be. You could make them a little larger and drape them over muffin tins or bowls. Shape them into rings. Just remember to lightly lubricate the mold. If you attempt to use these with wet items, they will melt and fall apart.

The purpose of the flour is to absorb any oils the cheese kicks loose as it melts. This helps with even cooking, keeps the fricco from falling apart, and keeps them from having soggy greasy spots. If the fricco keep falling apart, the odds are that you are skimping on the flour and trying to make the fricco without enough cheese, or-less likely-too much cheese.

Source: Chef Andrew E Cohen

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