October 9, 2016
As I say in the book (Fast & Fearless Cooking for the Genius) making frico is the most fun you can have with cheese and an oven. Someone once commented that the favourite North American flavour is "crisp." And I think that cheese runs it a close second. So what could be better than crisp and cheese together?
Preheat the oven* to 300 degrees F. Grate** some*** Parmeggiano (or Montasio or Grano Padano; an aged Cheddar will also work). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Drop large pinches of the grated cheese onto the paper, leaving two inches between the mounds. Flatten each mound slightly with your fingers for more even baking.
You can make these any size. A large pinch of cheese will make a two- to three-inch finished frico. If you want a larger diameter, use more cheese, but distribute it at above to be sure the mound is evenly thick.
Put the baking sheet into the oven and set the timer for nine minutes. When it dings, check the frico. You want them to be not just melted but golden brown on top*; they'll look like a golden Florentine cookie, kind of lacy and very thin. Give them an extra minute in the oven if you think it's necessary (they won't burn in that extra minute).
When they are done, let them stand on the parchment paper for three minutes or so, to cool****, then carefully remove them (I use my fingers) to a paper towel to blot off the excess oil.
These are great as is, cheesy and crisp. Wonderful with either Champagne or beer. You could add chopped fresh rosemary to the grateed cheese before baking (but dried rosemary is too dry and hard and would be unpleasant to eat in this form).
*You can also make these on top of the stove, but it's trickier; if you mistakenly try to move them too soon, they become a sticky mess. The oven is safer.
**Do not under any circumstances use that boxed, sawdust-y pre-grated Parmesan for this. Grate your own with the food processor's grater attachment or by hand on a fine rasp grater. If you are making only a few, hand grating is fine. To make them for a crowd, it's very convenient to use the machine.
***I'm not going to bother with amounts here. Grate more than you think you'll need and refrigerate what's left. I routinely grate a large chunk of Parmesan using the food processor and refrigerate the grated cheese for many future uses--including frico.
****Letting them cool partially allows them to crisp up a bit before you try to move them.