Cookbook Club

The Crispy, Cheesy (1-Ingredient!) Garnish to Elevate Everything

August 17, 2018

Some ingredients just feel noteworthy—truffles, caviar, small-batch anything—when you bust them out, it's automatically a special occasion. Parmesan can be that way too, specifically when it's shredded, baked, and turned into a toasty cheese crisp, à la frico.

And, c'mon, frico just sounds fancy. So when Ethnea H. Ferguson read that Joshua McFadden, author of our Cookbook Club's bonus book, Six Seasons, recommends pairing frico with champagne, she knew it was the perfect combo for her (semi)retirement celebration.

We're in favor of celebrating everything (and doing so with cheese!), but you don't need to reserve frico just for fancy occasions.

Smaller rounds of frico are perfect for nibbling on as is, but they also function as cheesy crackers or crumbled into crispy croutons for sprinkling on salads. Make the Parmesan cheese piles larger, say 6-inches across, and drape them over inverted bowls after they come out of the oven. Once cooled, you'll have edible cheesy bowls, perfect for filling with salad or pasta.

Another idea: add a layer of crispy Parmesan to the outside of dishes like grilled cheese sandwiches or fried eggs. You'll get a cheesy crust that makes already delicious foods even better.

more cheese, please

What's your favorite way to use frico? Share your cheesy ideas in the comments below!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Nancy
  • inpatskitchen
  • Lindsay-Jean Hard
    Lindsay-Jean Hard
I like esoteric facts about vegetables. Author of the IACP Award-nominated cookbook, Cooking with Scraps.


Nancy August 20, 2018
Not exactly favorite use of frico (which is so elegant), but yest a favorite use of Parmesan.
Years ago, working as a restaurant reviewer in Toronto, one Italian restauranteur introduced us to the custom of eating old Parmesan (presented in a block, which the eaters then shaved into slices) and Vin Santo for a simple but devastatingly end to the meal.
You could serve this instead of dessert.
Or - mixing cultures - after dessert, as a savoury (like the Brits).
PS Haven't tried it, but I suspect shaved Parmesan with a glass of Port isn't bad, either.
Nancy August 20, 2018
should read: devastatingly good end to the meal.
Lindsay-Jean H. August 20, 2018
Heck yes, I'm on board for this use, too!
inpatskitchen August 17, 2018
I'm planning on using frico as croutons for my next Caesar salad but use it here for a nice little appetizer:
Lindsay-Jean H. August 17, 2018
Yum, great idea for an appetizer!