Frico, that stranger!

Frico is usually served with polenta and it’s typical of the extreme North East of Italy

Frico, that stranger! Frico, or fricò to say it in Friulan dialect, comes from the extreme North-East of Italy, near the border with Austria. This tasty delicacy is made with all the leftovers of mountain cheeses and, especially, of Montasio, Friuli’s own DOP cheese, named after the homonymous plateau and produced in the area since the 13th century. 

Frico is usually served with polenta and it’s typical of the extreme North East of Italy

In the 15th century, Martino de Como’s De Arte Coquinaria, one of Italy’s earliest and most important recipe books, wants it paired with polenta, a perfectly earthy dish to feed farmers and lumbermen.

Frico is a typical dish made in the Friuli Venezia Giulia region of Italy

Basically, frico is cheese leftovers, sliced and fried in oil, butter or lard. It comes in a soft version, made with potatoes, butter, onion or speck, and a crunchy one, much thinner and made only with the fried cheese, served with mushrooms or Montasio fonduta. 

The Italian frico is a lot like the Spanish tortilla, except that instead of egg, it's cheese that holds the potatoes together

It is also perfect as a starter, served with cold polenta, as it used to be more than 500 years ago. A particularly tasty version is made in Flabiano: the frico alle erbe (frico with herbs), where fresh herbs typical of the area are added to the cheese. This variety of frico holds the “tipicamente friulano” nomenclature, in order to protect and create awareness around its unicity.

Il frico questo sconosciuto! Dalle estremo nord est d'Italia al confine con l'Austria arriva una prelibatezza poco conosciuta il frìco o fricò come voleva l'originale pronuncia dialettale friulana.

Questa buonissima specialità culinaria viene preparata con i resti dei formaggi di Malga e soprattutto di Montasio, il DOP friulano che prende il suo nome dall'omonimo altipiano dove viene prodotto fino dal 1200.  

Nel XV secolo in uno dei primi e più importanti ricettari (“De Arte Coquinaria” del Maestro Martino da Como) viene descritta questa preparazione che accompagnata a polenta fredda, era destinata a sfamare i contadini e i boscaioli. Fondamentalmente si tratta di ritagli di formaggio provenienti dai resti di lavorazione che vengono fritti con olio o burro o strutto.
Si trova in due versioni: morbida, lavorato con patate , burro, cipolla o speck, e croccante, sottile e di solo formaggio che viene fritto e servito con funghi o con fonduta sempre di Montasio.

Si gusta anche come antipasto o accompagnato ancora, come 500 anni fa, con polenta fredda. Una variante davvero eccezionale è quella prodotta a Flabiano, il “frico alle erbe” che, appunto, prevede l'aggiunta di fresche erbe di campo tipiche del territorio, variante che è stata fregiata del marchio “tipicamente friulano” al fine di proteggerne e sponsorizzarne l’unicità.

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