It’s very hard to go wrong with frico, aka cheese crisps, aka a pile shredded cheese that has been fried in a pan so it feels like you’re eating something fancier than a pile of shredded cheese. It’s a pretty perfect snack, and one that I did not think could be improved upon until my friend Danielle sent me a TikTok of a man making “jalapeño pepperoni cheese brittle.”
The man’s name is Kevin Ashton, and he is a delight. I rarely go on TikTok unless someone sends me a specific video, but luckily Danielle sends me Kevin’s videos quite frequently.
Kevin’s technique is simple but brilliant: He lays down some cheese on a silicone baking sheet, then sprinkles minced pepperoni, diced jalapeños, powdered parm, and Tajin on top. He pops the whole thing in the air fryer until it’s golden brown, then eats it. I’m jealous of his brain — this really is something that my brain should have come up with on its own — but thankful he puts his ideas out into the world.
Even if you don’t have an air fryer, you should put stuff in your frico. I make mine in a nonstick pan, which is very easy. Just sprinkle some cheese (ideally pre-shredded) into the pan over medium heat, making sure to leave gaps in between some of the shreds to help create a lacy network of crispy strands. Then add your “stuff.” I went with bacon bits and and finely sliced green onion. Greasy meats like Kevin’s pepperoni work especially well, as the grease they release help fry the cheese.
Once the cheese is golden brown, remove it from the pan and transfer it to a plate to let it finish crisping. I’ve made and eaten a lot of frico, and have found that wooden chopsticks make for easy removal. Repeat until you are out of cheese, then go buy more cheese.