Cheese and potatoes: what could be better?
This simple recipe from Friuli Venezia Giulia is a delicious example of cucina povera, a humble cuisine that combines on-hand ingredients in genius ways.
Yield: 6 slices
½ pound Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese, grated
1 medium potato (½ pound), peeled & grated
1 small onion, sliced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt & freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
Pour the olive oil into the skillet, set over medium heat, and scatter in the sliced onion.
Cook for a minute, then scatter the potato in the pan.
Toss and tumble the potatoes with the onion, and season with the salt and grinds of black pepper.
Cook for about 5-10 minutes, tossing frequently, until the potatoes are lightly crisped and golden.
Add the cheese.
Combine with the potatoes and onion, until the cheese is well distributed.
With the spatula, clean the sides of the skillet and smooth the vegetables and cheese into a neat pancake-like disk, filling the pan bottom.
Lower the heat and let the frico cook, undisturbed, as the cheese melts and crisps, until the bottom is very brown and nicely crusted, about 5 minutes.
Shake the pan to loosen the disk, put a large plate on top and invert, dropping the frico onto the plate, then slide it back in the skillet, top side down.
Cook until the second side is crisp and brown, about 5 minutes more.
Slide the frico onto a plate, slice into 6 wedges, and serve immediately.