Frico-ing Out Over My Great Ham & Cheese

Frico-ing Out Over My Great Ham & Cheese

Do you ever eat something and then become obsessed?  Maybe you go eat it multiple times.  Maybe you use the google to find out recipes or restaurants that you can find it at.  Maybe you dream about it and wake up with your pillow in your mouth.  (My husband wakes up that way sometimes…..but it is because I try to smother him in his sleep…wait…I shouldn’t admit to that…this isn’t admissible…is it?  It is a blog…there is no truth in blogs…remember that, Judge…I mean, readers.)

I’ve had a couple of things that I’m obsessed with but know I can’t write about them EVERY week.  (I mean, I guess I could…it is my blog…am I having a power trip?  I am scattered this morning…can you tell?)

Back to reality….I’ve been wanting to add a “frico” component to everything I eat lately. (If you are a regular reader, I made a frico on a tomato soup awhile back and it was AMAZING!) 

If you don’t read my blog….you probably aren’t seeing this either but I’ll still give a rough definition to be nice…a frico is a wafer of cheese that is shredded and then heated so it melts and then magically ends up crispy.  It is like a big chip…but it has all the savory nuttiness of cheese but the texture is crispy.  (I think this is what unicorns snack on when they watch a movie.)

You don’t need a bunch of fancy equipment either….you just need a good cheese (like an asiago, parmesan or even a good cheddar), a box grater (yes, you have to shred the cheese and not cheat) and a nonstick pan.

You grate up the cheese (some folks toss it with flour but I don’t) and heat up your skillet over a medium low.  Sprinkle the cheese (you don’t want to cover every inch of the pan…the cheese is going to melt and connect like a delicate lace being woven together)

It takes about a minute or two to start to brown and then you can flip it for another half minute or so to cook.  It takes a few trials to get the rhythm right but the nice thing is that even the mistakes are edible.. .

Fricos are great because when they are first out of the pan…they are very pliable.  You can make them into little bowls and serve your salad out of them, you can roll them into little tubes as a decorative accent or you can mold them around your favorite food like a wrapper.

So, the other day, I was making ham and cheese sandwiches for dinner.  (It was a weeknight…I was tired…don’t judge me.). I did want to do something to jazz them up  and instantly I wanted to get my frico on the sandwich.

I did know that to make an effective wrapper that I would probably make something a little smaller than a regular sandwich but larger than a sandwich you’d eat at tea. (Because like I said it was dinner time…not tea time…and I’m not a monster.) 

I built my sandwich as you would any other ham and cheese (Swiss cheese, thin ham slices, a little brown mustard, a lot of love)  I spread butter on the one outside of the bread that would hit the pan first, loaded up my fillings and then topped with another piece of bread.  Mysteriously I had a GIANT pile of asiago cheese grated but I didn’t put it on my sandwich….yet.

I heated my pan over medium low heat to start and placed my sandwich in for about 2-3 minutes.  (You may need to adjust your heat….you want the cheese in the sandwich to get melty and the bread to start to brown.).

Instead of flipping your sandwich over to finish it in the pan….remove it….lower the heat to a medium low…..and sprinkle a good handful of your grated cheese into the pan…NOW you can place your sandwich (the brown part of the bread upward and the plain part on the cheese in the pan.)

Ready for the magic to start…..the cheese is not only going to melt to the outside of the bread but there should be enough cheese surrounding the sandwich to form a gigantic piece of lace.  When you notice it start to brown, gently lift that lace so it is covering the side of your bread.  If you notice your cheese being a little too greasy, tilt your pan slightly and dab out the extra moisture.  (You don’t want your cheese to resemble a piece of pizza that you may get from a gas station.)

It will be a little stretchy and it shouldn’t be frail yet.  (I used little appetizer tongs to help so I didn’t burn my fingertips.)  If you don’t have enough cheese to wrap it completely, you can do the trick I did….and serve it with the pretty side up!!! (Next time I do this, I will use my 12-inch nonstick and not my 9 inch.)

Hint:  If you want to cut your sandwich in half…you must do it immediately after it comes out of the pan….if you wait…the cheese cracks and falls apart…..and no one wants that….except the person who is cleaning the kitchen and can eat all the scraps left behind.

What you end up with is heaven on a plate….the outside of your sandwich has a cheese crust that crunches during your first bite and then you have that gooey, salty, rich bite of ham and cheese.   It is fabulous….just fabulous!!!!

This did take a little trial and error especially trying to wrap the sandwich but it has changed the way I look at a ham and cheese forever and now I have yet another excuse to use the word frico in a sentence.  (And we all know my vocab is very small so I’ve got to work words in any way that I can!)

Give it a try and let me know if you become obsessed!