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Cheese crisps are generally thin wafers or boat-like baskets made from various oven-baked cheeses. These wafers are often served as appetizers or garnishes for soup or stews. The basket-shaped version can hold salads, dips, spreads or other complementary ingredients.
In Italy, cheese crisps are called frico, which traditionally are thin, crispy, lace-like wafers about 3-4 inches (about 7-10 cm) in diameter and made of Montasio cheese. To make crisps, a firm to hard grated cheese is required. Suitable cheeses include Asiago, Kefalotiri, Montasio or Parmesan-Reggiano. Other recipes use Swiss or Romano cheese.
The cheese selected often affects the results. Kefalotiri is a semi-firm Greek cheese that tends to form irregular-shaped wafers with holes. Other ingredients, such as seasoning, herbs or bits of bacon or pepperoni, are sometimes added for extra flavor.
To make cheese crisps, one should select a firm to hard cheese and slice it into very thin slices — less than an eighth of an inch (3.2 mm) thick. The slices are placed on a baking sheet, allowing space for the crisps to spread. Some cooks prefer to line the baking sheet with a silicone liner.
The slices should be baked for about four minutes in a preheated oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit (224 degrees Celsius). The crisps are done when they are lightly golden and bubbly. A spatula can be used to remove them from the baking sheet, and they can be cooled on a wire rack. When using a new type of cheese is being used, a small test batch can be prepared to verify the desired results.
Other cheese crisp recipes can be used to create larger, pancake-like crisps. The larger, lacy-textured wafers are served either whole or broken into free-form pieces. Cooked in a hot skillet, these crisps still contain very few ingredients: cheese, a small amount of flour and either pepper, rosemary or oregano for seasoning. Some recipes recommend melting butter in the skillet, and others do not recommend any added fat.
To create the basket-like cheese crisps, one should allow the cooked cheese to cool while it is draped over a rolling pin. The rolling pin can be suspended by placing each end on a tall cans or similar objects. The cheese also can cool while draped over an inverted cup or bowl that has the desired shape.
It’s also possible for cheese crisps to be prepared in a microwave. Instead of slices of cheese, cubes can be arranged at least 2 inches (5.1 cm) apart on a piece of cooking parchment inside the microwave. The cheese cubes should be cooked on full power for a minute or two until the cheese is melted, bubbling and slightly darkened. If the microwave does not have a turntable, the parchment should be rotated occasionally. After it is done cooking, the cheese should be allowed to cool and harden on the parchment — usually for about two minutes — before it is removed from the paper.
@ ValleyFiah- I like to make cheese crisps, and roll them over pencils to make cheese straws. These make great garnishes for dishes like Eggplant Parmesan, or Chicken Parmesan. I have never tried adding fresh herbs to the cheese though, and I always used slices of cheese. I assume the texture from using shredded cheese makes them nicer, and the little bits of herbs tossed in the mix adds a little more flavor. I'll have to try making them your way next time.
I always found the easiest way to make cheese crisps is to buy shredded Parmesan and mix in a few fresh herbs. I use a nonstick skillet, or a cast iron skillet that has been rubbed with olive oil. I sprinkle the seasoned Parmesan on the skillet and allow it to cook over medium high heat until the cheese turns golden brown and easily peels of the pan with a spatula. I drape the cheese crisps over ramekins to make little cheese bowls. These bowls can be stuffed with things like poached eggs, sausage crumbles, and gravy for a great breakfast dish. They are also great when stuffed with lobster and avocado salad, or any other little appetizer.
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