Frico: a crispy potatoes and cheese pie from Friuli Venezia Giulia

“Frico” recipe: a crispy potatoes and cheese pie from Friuli Venezia Giulia

    • Prep Time
    • Minutes
    • Cook Time
    • Minutes

Frico: a crispy potatoes and cheese pie from Friuli Venezia Giulia - the ingredients

Total Cost: UK/£ 10,77*

Cost/portion: UK/£ 1,79*

All the secrets to make a perfect frico

Potatoes, a mixture of mature and mild cheese and the art of flipping things over are what you need for making this fantastic pie: a crispy, crackling dry crust outside and a soft yet varied texture in the inside. Simply mouth-watering.

It takes a little less than an hour to make it, but its flavours will pay you back the effort and now, I will reveal the secrets to make it just perfect.

First secret

Slice the potatoes with your hands. No mandolins nor electric cutters are allowed: you need to vary the slices’ thickness to avoid the boredom of an even inner texture.

Second secret

Mix at least 3 different cheeses. One mature, one mild and one just in between them. Originally the cheese would have been Montasio cheese and Latteria cheese, all cow’s milk cheeses that I couldn’t actually find here. So I came up with a combination of Gruyère, Fontina and Asiago cheese which actually worked very well!

Third secret

Drain the fat. In order to obtain a perfectly crackling and dry crust, you need to drain the fat the cheese will release. Cover the pan with its lid, move it to the sink and tilt it just enough to get rid of the fat from a little gap on the rim.

Fourth secret

Confidence. When you turn the frico over using the frying pan’s lid, there is no time for hesitation, or it will fall on the floor, in which case, I’d suggest to turn you dinner into an improvised picnic: you won’t waste that glorious food and the kids will love it.

Actually there would be a fifth secret: use lard instead of extra virgin olive oil. That was the fat originally available in the north of Italy. It has a very high smoking point and it is just perfect for frying. But in the modern ages it is rarely used anymore.

What to accompany it with

Frico goes perfectly well together with an hot sauce made with eggs, butter and red vinegar: “Toc’ di ûs e asêt”. You can find the recipe here. Try it! Also, you can have frico together with a radicchio or lamb lettuce salad, both seasoned with crispy fried pancetta and hot vinegar. The recipe will be soon online.

A dish of the humble but genuine culinary tradition of Carnia

Up the northwest mountains of Friuli, closed in between the Carnic Alps along the Austrian border and the heights of the Dolomites down south there’s Carnia, with its ancient history and its boundary line culture, its determined, feisty people and its strong, fair and creative cooking tradition.

My uncle F. was from Aupa Valley, very close to Carnia. He was the one in charge of making polenta and frico for our family gatherings: on “All Saints’ Day” evening he was there, the master of the wood stove, stirring polenta and flipping over a massive frico by holding the pan and its lid with his huge hands, while the rest of the family was going through the Rosary and Litanies. And I must admit: nobody in the family is able to make a better frico than his.

Related Posts

Eggs and red wine vinegar sauce – Toc’ di ûs e asêt

Note for the users: please click on the label “HOW TO” to watch the slide-show of each cooking step.

* Please note that both total cost and cost per portion are approximate and that can vary according to seasons and to different conditions.

Recipe Rating

  • (1 Rating)

Ingredients

  • Potatoes (Yellow meat) - 1,2Kgr

  • Extra virgin olive oil - 35gr

  • Gruyère cheese - 150gr

  • Asiago cheese - 100gr

  • Fontina cheese - 100gr

  • Salt - to taste

  • Black pepper corn - 2gr

  • Utensils

  • One large non-stick frying pan

  • One large flat lid

  • One kitchen towel

  • One potato peeler

  • One paring knife

  • Two medium bowls

  • One pestle and mortar

  • One wooden or silicone spatula

  • One sharp chef knife

  • One chopping board

Instructions

  • 1.
    Peeling, washing and slicing the potatoes

    • Potatoes (Yellow meat) - 1,2Kgr
    • One kitchen towel
    • One potato peeler
    • One paring knife
    • Two medium bowls

      Peel the potatoes and collect them into one medium bowl. Rinse them under running water, then dry them thoruoghly with a kitchen towel (step 1 - pic. A).
      With a paring knife, cut the potatoes into 3 to 4mm thick slices directly into a clean bowl (step 1 - pic. B - C).

  • 2.
    Cooking the potatoes and crushing the black pepper corns

    • The sliced potatoes
    • Extra virgin olive oil - 35gr
    • Black pepper corn - 2gr
    • Salt - to taste
    • One large non-stick frying pan
    • One paring knife
    • Two medium bowls
    • One pestle and mortar
    • One wooden or silicone spatula

      Put the extra virgin olive oil into the pan, add immediately the sliced potatoes (step 2 - pic. A). Set the heat on a medium-low power and let them cook for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring constantly but gently so not to brake the potatoes.
      Meanwhile, finely crush the black pepper corns into the mortar. Then, when potatoes have dried and cooked enough, season them with salt and pepper (step 2 - pic. B).
      Stir evenly and set the power to a medium-high power. Keep cooking the potatoes for about 10 minutes more.

  • 3.
    Dicing the cheese

    • Gruyère cheese - 150gr
    • Asiago cheese - 100gr
    • Fontina cheese - 100gr
    • One sharp chef knife
    • One chopping board

      While potatoes are cooking through, clean the cheeses from their crusts, cut them into 1 by 1cm thick strips, then dice it and set aside.

  • 4.
    Adding the diced sheeses to the cooked potatoes

    • The cooked potatoes in the frying pan
    • The diced cheeses
    • One silicon or wooden spatula
    • One large flat lid

      The potatoes will be cooked through when they start giving back the olive oil. Check if all pieces are ready, then add the cheese and stir gently to incorporate it into the potatoes braking them the least possible (step 4 - pic. A).
      Then even the edges and flatten the mixture to create the most regular circular shape possible (step 4 - pic. B).
      When the cheese will start melting, it will release it’s fat, which will accumulate along the edges. In order to obtain a dry and crisp frico, you need to eliminate that fat. So, cover it with the pan’s flat lid, move the pan to the sink , tilt the it and drain the fat through a small gap on rim. Repeat this again a couple of times (step 4 - pic. C).

  • 5.
    Turning the frico over with the pan’s lid

    • The cooking fricoin the frying pan
    • One large flat lid

      Shake the pan carefully. If the frico doesn’t stick to the bottom and slips easily on it, it means a crispy crust has formed and that it’s time to turn the frico over.
      Cover the pan with its flat lid and keep your hand on it while holding the pan by its handle. With a quick and confident move, turn the pan upside down and let the frico flat on the lid (step 5 - pic. A).
      Put the pan back on the hobs, tilt the lid toward it and let the frico slide back into the pan (step 5 - pic. B).
      Let the frico cook uncovered for another 8 to 10mins. If necessary, drain the fat as you did before.
      Then, turn over the frico again to check if the crust is crispy enough.
      Slide it onto a serving dish. Let it rest for a couple of minutes, then serve.

Frico: a crispy potatoes and cheese pie from Friuli Venezia GiuliaFrico: a crispy potatoes and cheese pie from Friuli Venezia GiuliaFrico: a crispy potatoes and cheese pie from Friuli Venezia GiuliaFrico: a crispy potatoes and cheese pie from Friuli Venezia GiuliaFrico: a crispy potatoes and cheese pie from Friuli Venezia GiuliaFrico: a crispy potatoes and cheese pie from Friuli Venezia GiuliaFrico: a crispy potatoes and cheese pie from Friuli Venezia GiuliaFrico: a crispy potatoes and cheese pie from Friuli Venezia GiuliaFrico: a crispy potatoes and cheese pie from Friuli Venezia GiuliaFrico: a crispy potatoes and cheese pie from Friuli Venezia GiuliaFrico: a crispy potatoes and cheese pie from Friuli Venezia Giulia

Instructions

  • 1.
    Peeling, washing and slicing the potatoes

    • Potatoes (Yellow meat) - 1,2Kgr
    • One kitchen towel
    • One potato peeler
    • One paring knife
    • Two medium bowls

      Peel the potatoes and collect them into one medium bowl. Rinse them under running water, then dry them thoruoghly with a kitchen towel (step 1 - pic. A).
      With a paring knife, cut the potatoes into 3 to 4mm thick slices directly into a clean bowl (step 1 - pic. B - C).

  • 2.
    Cooking the potatoes and crushing the black pepper corns

    • The sliced potatoes
    • Extra virgin olive oil - 35gr
    • Black pepper corn - 2gr
    • Salt - to taste
    • One large non-stick frying pan
    • One paring knife
    • Two medium bowls
    • One pestle and mortar
    • One wooden or silicone spatula

      Put the extra virgin olive oil into the pan, add immediately the sliced potatoes (step 2 - pic. A). Set the heat on a medium-low power and let them cook for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring constantly but gently so not to brake the potatoes.
      Meanwhile, finely crush the black pepper corns into the mortar. Then, when potatoes have dried and cooked enough, season them with salt and pepper (step 2 - pic. B).
      Stir evenly and set the power to a medium-high power. Keep cooking the potatoes for about 10 minutes more.

  • 3.
    Dicing the cheese

    • Gruyère cheese - 150gr
    • Asiago cheese - 100gr
    • Fontina cheese - 100gr
    • One sharp chef knife
    • One chopping board

      While potatoes are cooking through, clean the cheeses from their crusts, cut them into 1 by 1cm thick strips, then dice it and set aside.

  • 4.
    Adding the diced sheeses to the cooked potatoes

    • The cooked potatoes in the frying pan
    • The diced cheeses
    • One silicon or wooden spatula
    • One large flat lid

      The potatoes will be cooked through when they start giving back the olive oil. Check if all pieces are ready, then add the cheese and stir gently to incorporate it into the potatoes braking them the least possible (step 4 - pic. A).
      Then even the edges and flatten the mixture to create the most regular circular shape possible (step 4 - pic. B).
      When the cheese will start melting, it will release it’s fat, which will accumulate along the edges. In order to obtain a dry and crisp frico, you need to eliminate that fat. So, cover it with the pan’s flat lid, move the pan to the sink , tilt the it and drain the fat through a small gap on rim. Repeat this again a couple of times (step 4 - pic. C).

  • 5.
    Turning the frico over with the pan’s lid

    • The cooking fricoin the frying pan
    • One large flat lid

      Shake the pan carefully. If the frico doesn’t stick to the bottom and slips easily on it, it means a crispy crust has formed and that it’s time to turn the frico over.
      Cover the pan with its flat lid and keep your hand on it while holding the pan by its handle. With a quick and confident move, turn the pan upside down and let the frico flat on the lid (step 5 - pic. A).
      Put the pan back on the hobs, tilt the lid toward it and let the frico slide back into the pan (step 5 - pic. B).
      Let the frico cook uncovered for another 8 to 10mins. If necessary, drain the fat as you did before.
      Then, turn over the frico again to check if the crust is crispy enough.
      Slide it onto a serving dish. Let it rest for a couple of minutes, then serve.

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