It’s been a busy few weeks at work while we prepare to film the 2017 season of Cook’s Country TV. Although I’m not a member of the Cook’s Country team, I (along with a few of my Cook’s Illustrated teammates) have been recruited to do some of the behind the scenes cooking for the Cook’s Country on-screen talent. I’m looking forward to the change of pace. TV is always a bit stressful, but it’s also a lot of fun! One of the recipes I’ll be cooking is their addictive “Crispy Parmesan Potatoes with Chive Sour Cream”, a game-day worthy indulgence if there ever was one. I made a few batches the other day at work just to practice for filming and got to experience first-hand exactly how the reputation of the dish had spread to every corner of the building in the months since it was first developed. After having the food director of the show sign-off on the quality of my practice batch, I placed my platter containing two pounds of parmesan crusted potato slices on the main test kitchen counter for all to nosh.
They were gone less than 1 minute later.
No, I’m not kidding.
Thankfully I had prepped enough ingredients to make a 2nd practice batch, providing much needed solace to those who weren’t quite quick enough to snag a slice or two from the 1st round.
Once that 2nd batch was history, I realized I had a few cups of shredded cheese left and so decided to whip up some parmesan fricos, the crisp cheese wafers that hail from the Friuli region of Italy. As I was making them, I thought that they’d be a great treat to share with you all, so I snagged a shot of my final specimen to post here before it left the pan to be scooped up by one of my fellow test kitchen vultures. For those who haven’t had the pleasure, fricos are nothing more than melted cheese that has been cooked long enough to caramelize, sweeten, and crisp. If you’ve ever enjoyed the drip of cheddar or American that escaped your grilled cheese sandwich and crisped on the skillet, then you’ve experienced the beauty of a frico.
Normally made with a shredded high-fat hard cheese like Montasio, aged Asiago, or Parmesan, fricos can be made in the oven or on the stovetop. I like the speed and control offered by cooking them in a skillet over a flame and so opted to break out a 10″ non-stick skillet and get to work. At a quick 6-7 minutes per, these lovelies were flying out of the pan and into the mouths of a growing queue of fans in no time. Broken into shards and placed in a basket (or eaten whole if that’s how you roll), these sweet-salty, crisp-chewy treats WILL become your latest food addiction.
Cheers – Steve
- 1 pound (4 cups) grated parmesan cheese (grated on the largest holes of a box grater)
- Sprinkle ½ cup grated cheese over the bottom of a 10-inch nonstick skillet set over medium-high heat. Use a heat-resistant rubber spatula or wooden spoon to tidy the lacy outer edges of the cheese. Cook, shaking the pan occasionally to ensure an even distribution of the cheese over the pan bottom, until the edges are lacy and toasted, about 4 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and allow the cheese to set for about 30 seconds. Using a fork and a heatproof spatula, carefully flip the cheese wafer and return the pan to medium heat. Cook until the second side is golden brown, about 2 minutes. Slide the cheese wafer out of the pan and transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining cheese. Serve the frico within 1 hour.