Frico: a Friulian delicacy
Author: Stewart Turner
Frico is a dish from Friuli, an area of Northeast Italy with its own particular cultural and historical identity. Classic “cucina povera” (traditional peasant food), it is exceptionally easy to make and delicious. Essentially an Italian take on a Spanish tortilla, but without the egg – the main ingredients are cheese and potatoes (what could be better?). It’s still a staple of the region (and beyond) today.
The recipe traditionally requires a local, aged, hard cows’ milk cheese called Montasio, but fresh Parmesan would also work. This recipe comes courtesy of Federica Pecorari, the winemaker at Lis Neris – try it with a glass of her classic (and superior) Pinot Grigio for the perfect aperitivo.
- 400g floury potatoes – grated
- 200g Montasio cheese – diced
- 1 onion – peeled and finely sliced
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
Pour the olive oil into a non-stick frying pan. Set over medium heat and scatter in the sliced onion. Cook for a minute, then add the potato to the pan. Toss and tumble the potatoes with the onion, and season. Cook for about 5 to 10 minutes, tossing frequently, until the potatoes are lightly crisped and golden.
Add the Montasio. Combine with the potatoes and onion, until the cheese is well distributed. With the spatula, clean the sides of the pan and smooth the potato mixture into a neat pancake-like disk, filling the bottom of the pan.
Lower the heat and let the frico cook, undisturbed, as the cheese melts and crisps, until the bottom is golden 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 pan, top side down. Cook until the second side is crisp and brown (5 further minutes).
Slide the frico onto a plate, slice into wedges, and serve immediately.
2015 Pinot Grigio, Lis Neris, Friuli (£21.85): Aromas of citrus, camomile and quince layer with saline minerals and floral complexity. The attack is rich and scented, the mid-palate filled with density and plenty of ripe fruit. It’s gloriously textured, youthful and vivacious. Drink now to 2018.