A frico is a cheese pancake that isn’t really a pancake because it has no eggs. Fried until it’s firm and crisp, it’s typical of Carnia, in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region of Italy. Potatoes are usually added but the variations are endless and each village and mountain valley has their own interpretation or recipe. Nowadays it’s served with a salad for starters but it really seems like a pretty hefty starter.
The biggest frico ever made was made by the Udine Association of Chefs in Austria and measured 3 meters across, weighed just over 600 kgs with the frico itself weighing 300 kg.
A really interesting place to make one when you have friends around, is at a fireplace called a fogolar which is more than merely a fireplace but also so much more than merely a place where food is cooked. Friends and families socialize at a fogolar and meet to eat, drink and be merry – much like at a barbecue. The hearth, where food is grilled over a wooden fire is usually found in the middle of the kitchen and it has a massive flue overhead. Pork, chicken, beans – anything really is cooked there and it makes for a stimulating evening.
- 400 g Montasio cheese
- 250 ml homemade chicken stock 500 ml
- 4 medium sized potatoes peeled and washed and thinly sliced
- 1 onion chopped
- 2 tbsp butter
- Melt the butter in a frying pan and lightly sauté the onions.
- Add the sliced potatoes and toss them briefly in the butter.
- Pour over the stock and gently until the potatoes are soft – add just enough stock to cover the potatoes and keep adding until the potatoes are soft otherwise you may just sit with far too much at the end.
- Dice the cheese and once the potatoes are cooked and all the stock absorbed, scatter the cheese over the top and allow it to melt.
- Continue browning and pouring off all the oil that will form as the cheese melts.
- When the edge is nicely browned, the frico is ready to serve.
Other cheese recipes: