Cheese crisps — which are also known as “frico” — are an easy, one-ingredient snack made by frying little piles of cheese until they take on the appearance of a lacy cracker. They’re savoury. They’re crunchy. They’re an elaborate excuse to eat piles of cheese, and they can be even better.
Photo by Claire Lower
Given their simplistic nature, you wouldn’t think there was a whole lot to tweak here but, while making and eating a batch of this very snack last weekend, I stumbled on to two ways to make your frico a little prettier and a little tastier.
- Tip #1: Use a Canning Jar Ring as a Mould: This was actually my friend Lisa’s idea. I was frying little piles of cheddar all haphazardly, when she a wisely suggested employing a ring mould. I don’t have a ring mould, but I do have a lot of canning jar rings, and that works just as well. Just place the ring right side up (as you would place it on a jar) in a frying pan and sprinkle shredded cheese inside the ring, pushing shreds to the edge to fill the ring completely. Cook until crisp, remove the ring and take your perfectly round crisp out of the pan to cool. (Once cool, put it in your mouth and chomp it up.)
- Tip #2: Cut Down on Bitterness by Using Pre-Shredded Cheese: One problem with frico is that is that there is a fine line between “crispy, salty, cheesy goodness” and “burnt, acrid, not good disks of sadness”. Startlingly, there is a super easy way to circumvent this issue; you just need to use pre-shredded cheese. As you probably know, bagged, already shredded cheese is usually coated with some sort of anti-caking agent, usually potato starch or the like. Such was the case with the bag of Tillamook sharp cheddar I used, and it made the best cheese crisp of my life. Though I had initially started my batch of crisps by shredding some sharp cheddar straight from the block (also Tillamook sharp, to be honest) I had grown tired of grating and grabbed the pre-shredded stuff out of laziness. I had no idea what effect the extra starch would have on the frico, but was pleasantly surprised to find that it resulted in a crispier crisp that browned much more quickly without a trace of bitterness. Getting the same amount of browning with the plain cheese took twice as long, and the resulting wafer of dairy was so bitter it was inedible.
It should be noted that I’ve only tried this with pre-shredded cheese coated in potato starch, so I can’t speak to how other caking agents would affect browning, but that particular starch makes a damn fine cheese crisp.
Cocktails may be the best part of a cocktail party, but the snacks are a close second. But no one wants to spend hours over the stove making party snacks. With this cheese crisp recipe from Fine Cooking you don't have to.Read more