The Country Cooking of Italy's Frico or Friulano Cheese Crisps

Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer

There's something very civilized about the Italian tradition of an apertivo. Sure, you could just dive into dinner but relaxing with a little cocktail or glass of wine and a few bites makes everything all the better. After all, you have to whet that appetite somehow, right?

These Frico or Friulano Cheese Crisps from The Country Cooking of Italy are the perfect little bite to go along with the pre-dinner drink. Savory and salty, crisp and cheesy, they have the munchability of a potato chip with an apertivo-level elegance.

What Worked: These little cheese crisps are the ideal snack along with a glass of crisp Fruilian white.

What Didn't: Not to worry if you can't find the Montasio cheese called for in the recipe, Asiago will do the trick.

Suggested Tweaks: You can also try these cocktail hour bad boys with Parmigiano.

Reprinted with permission from The Country Cooking of Italy by Colman Andrews. Copyright © 2012. Published by Chronicle Books. Available wherever books are sold. All rights reserved.

Recipe Facts



Active: 15 mins
Total: 15 mins
Serves: 6 to 8 servings

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  • 1 pound/500 grams montasio or asiago, grated
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil


  1. Combine the cheese and flour in a large bowl, and mix together well but gently with your hands.

  2. Melt the butter in a large frying pan over medium-low heat, and add 2 tablespoons of the oil. When the oil-butter mixture is hot, working in batches, use a spoon to form fritters 2 to 3 inches/5 to 7.5 centimeters in diameter, using about 2 tablespoons of the cheese mixture for each fritter and gently tamping down each fritter with a spatula. Make sure the edges of the fritters don’t touch. Cook the fritters, without moving them, until their edges turn golden brown, about 3 minutes. Then, using the spatula, carefully turn them and cook until golden, about 2 minutes longer. As the fritters are ready, drain them on paper towels.

  3. Serve the fritters at room temperature.