Potato and cheese fry (Frico)
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- 400 grams (14 oz) Potatoes The potato variety I used for this recipe is ROMANO. As a guidance, choose a potato variety with a slightly waxy texture.
- 400 grams (14 oz) Montasio cheese For this recipe we don’t need any fat (i.e. butter, olive oil etc.) because the fat provided by the melted cheese will be more than enough. We don’t need seasoning too, because the cheese itself will provide the right seasoning.
- Fill a pan with cold water, add some salt and bring to the boil. Boil the potatoes until they are soft (if a fork can pass through them easily, then it means they are ready). Choose potatoes with more or less the same size so they will all be ready at the same time.
- While the potatoes are boiling, dice the cheese, roughly making 1 x 1 cm (3/8" x 3/8") dice.
- When the potatoes are ready, drain and leave them in a colander to cool down.
- Then, roughly mash them using a fork…..
- …..to achieve this.
- Take a wide frying pan, apply gentle heat and put the mashed potato into the pan.
- Pat the mashed potato with a spatula, to make a circle about 1 cm (3/8") thick. If it is 1 1/2 cm (5/8") thick it doesn’t matter! Leave the potato circle to cook on its own for about 3-4 minutes.
- Then, add the cheese dice, spreading it evenly. Don’t add all the cheese you have in one go because you may need only 350 g (12 1/2 ounces) instead of 400 g (14 ounces) stated in the recipe.
- After I spread the cheese dice around as shown in the picture, I press them down through the potato mash, with a spatula, so that they can get in contact with the bottom of the pan.
- The cheese will soon start to melt.
- With a spatula, go around the perimeter of the circle and fold the melted cheese toward the centre. Basically, we are trying to make a nice circular shape.
- After 5-10 minutes (it depends on the heat) the bottom of the circle should be golden in colour. You may be able to gently lift one side with the spatula to check the colour. Now it is time to turn the whole thing upside down, flipping it in the air like you would do with a frittata or an omelette.
- The picture shows the frico after the turn. You can also see the colour you should achieve. Some people like it a bit darker; nothing wrong with that, it is just a matter of personal taste, as long as you don’t burn it.
- Cook the second side for another 5-10 minutes until you achieve the same colour intensity as for the top side. At the same time, using a spatula, go around the perimeter to keep a nice circular shape.
- When the frico is ready, remove the pan from the heat and let it cool down in the pan for few minutes so that it will hold its shape once you take it out of the pan. I turn it over a greaseproof or baking paper, then you can slice it and serve it with polenta or, as I did, with some sourdough bread.
- Finally, this is a picture I took in August 2008 during a family reunion in my grandmother’s house. To get there, I travelled from Scotland, where I now live, and it was a beautiful surprise to see that my aunt Oneglia didn’t forget about the frico.