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What Is a Frico?

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  • Written By: A. Leverkuhn
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 03 November 2016
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A frico is a kind of European-inspired food that consists mainly of fried cheese. Various cheeses can be used for this dish, but the final result is a crispy, thin wafer that can be formed into various shapes for different culinary uses. While this food has a latin-based name, it is also common in some parts of English-speaking North America or other English-speaking countries, and now found in many parts of the world where modern cosmopolitan cuisine is offered.

In terms of its origin, frico is widely known to be a traditional Italian food. It is often associated with a specific region of Italy called Friuli. In Italian cooking, the crisp is often used as a garnish for different hot entrées.

In other uses of frico, this food can be served in small pieces in a dish, bag or basket, similarly to other kinds of chips and crisps common in other parts of the world. In addition, the cheese wafer can be formed into a bowl or basket shape. This more complex use of frico can hold salads or other non-liquid items, forming an effective ‘edible bowl’ that can help restaurants or other food service businesses deal with the costs and waste involved in food packaging for presentation.

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Most cooks who are making this food either pan fry or grill the cheese into a crispy, golden strip. For making a frico salad bowl or similar item, the cheese can be shaped while it is frying by placing it over top of a solid, nonflammable item like a glass bowl. The cheese is heated until it begins to crisp and turn brown. In various presentations, cooks brown the cheese more or less according to the desired result.

Many types of Italian cheese can be used for a frico. One of them is the classic Italian Parmesan cheese. Another common one is Montagio, a cheese that cooks use in a variety of ways. Three kinds of Montagio present different options for the frico. A fresco – a less aged, creamy and mild cheese, can be used. In other presentations of the food, cooks used semi-stagionato, a semi-aged variety. The stagniato can also be used. This cheese is firmer, drier, and sharper than the other two varieties.

Although many versions of frico are simply savory cheese dishes, some have different flavor elements added. Some cooks add sweeteners like cinnamon and sugar to these items. This may not be the most popular presentation for this cheese crisp food, but it does create an additional taste element.

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