Cheese simply grated into a hot pan could turn into a sticky mess, but we found that using a nonstick skillet allowed us to cook the frico without adding butter or oil. We discovered that it was easy to turn the frico to the other side once the first side was browned if we first took the skillet off the heat; the slightly cooled cheese didn’t stretch or tear when we flipped it. Turning the heat down to cook the second side gave the best results; a pan that was too hot turns the cheese bitter. Many recipes suggest Parmesan as a substitute for Montasio, but we found Asiago cheese to be a better stand-in—though the real thing is even better.
[Ed. Note: America’s Test Kitchen Jack Bishop talks more about frico and other cheese-related topics and techniques in this interview with Managing Producer Sally Swift.]
Sprinkle 2 ounces (about 1/2 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.
TECHNIQUE: Making Frico
1. After sprinkling the cheese into the skillet, use a heat-resistant spatula or wooden spoon to gently push the scattered shreds of cheese around the edges inward to form a tidy rim.
2. Once the first side is browned, remove the pan from the heat and let cool for 30 seconds to allow the frico to firm slightly. Using a fork and a heatproof spatula, carefully flip the cheese wafer and return the pan to medium heat to cook the second side.
Note from the Test Kitchen: Serve frico with drinks and a bowl of marinated olives or marinated sun-dried tomatoes.
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