Frico Morbido - The Cheesy Potato Pancake of your dreams!
Frico is one of the classic cheese dishes of the Fruili region. Like many of our favorite treats, it is a product of Cucina Povera originally devised in the 15th century by impoverished cooks as a way to make something delicious out of recycled rinds and scraps of cheese. These days, it is simply a delicious way to use one of the classic Fruili cheeses - Montasio. There are two kinds of Frico, Soft Frico (Frico Morbido) and Thin Frico (Frico Friabile). Both are absolutely delicious and easy to make. The soft frico is a mixture of potato, onion, spices and equal parts cheese that gets cooked in a pan until both sides are crispy and browned. The thin frico is more of a snack and is made by frying thinly grated Montasio in EVOO, resulting a wafer of salty crispy cheesy goodness. Both are delicious and easy to make. Here is our recipe for Frico Morbido.
Grated Potato - 1 Cup
Grated Montasio Cheese - 1 1/2 Cups (1/2 lb cheese should do it)
Peeled and Grated Sweet Onion - 1/2 Cup
Salt and Pepper
EVOO - 1 Tablespoon
This is one of the simplest recipes, but if you do it right, you get a beautiful cheesy potato pancake that is the perfect base for all kinds of fabulous toppings or great all by itself. We like to lay thin slices of prosciutto on our frico with a dollop of creme fraiche/mascarpone or a ball of fresh burrata! You can also go full fancy and use frico as a vehicle for caviar or crab or lobster. It is delicious by itself too!
Heat the evoo in a non stick pan over medium heat then add the onion. Cook until translucent, stirring often so it does not brown(5 minutes). Next, add the potato, stirring to mix everything and ensure even cooking, after ten minutes, we are ready to add the cheese and salt and pepper. Once the cheese has been added, continue stirring and cook for another 15 minutes.
At this point the cheese should be melted and the mixture should be rather homogeneous. Using a flat plate, press down on the mixture in the pan, we want to even out the thickness of the mixture and make sure that it is nice and compact without too much air. After you have pressed it, remove the pan or plate and turn up the heat to medium/high so we can give our Frico a crust.
Cook the mixture for 5-10 minutes on this side, lifting gently after 5 minutes to check the level of browning, we want a nice dark golden brown, but not burnt. After the bottom is properly browned. Place the plate you used before upside down on top of the frico and hold the plate flip the pan to turn the frico out onto the plate. Next, slide the frico back into the pan and continue cooking the other side. Once the other side is properly browned and crispy, slide it out onto a plate or drying rack(for ultimate crunchiness). Let is cook slightly before eating, then slice to serve and enjoy! Buon appetito!