Do you invite people to your home for dinner or do you break into a January-in-Minnesota sweat at the thought? I love eating in restaurants, but the nights spent with friends and family in our home, or in theirs, are the best of all. When I was a newlywed, I was so excited to be a grown up that I almost killed myself preparing elaborate dinner parties in tiny kitchens. I don't regret those experiences one bit, but these busy days, I prefer to keep it simple. I think my guests have more fun and I know that I do.
Especially when the dinner party is spontaneous! I just love a last-minute dinner party, when guests pitch in with the chopping, and setting the table, and we all sit around chatting and relaxed. Hear this Minnesotans - there is no need for fancy appetizers before dinner! Sometimes I think the pressure of fussy appetizers kills a party more than the dinner itself. Pop some bubbles and set out some salty nuts, raw vegetables, and a slab of good butter. Delicious. Done.
Or make frico! If you keep a block of Parmesan cheese in your fridge, you're ready to impress in mere minutes. Frico is basically fried grated cheese, toasted in a pan to a crisp wafer of whoa, ready in five minutes or less. Slide the golden crunchy cheese onto a plate and let your guests break off pieces to devour between sips of wine.
It's lovely to fry a bit of sage in the pan before sprinkling in the cheese. Ditto stirring around a bit of garlic. This Melissa Clark version from the New York Times jumped right out at me a couple of weeks ago. Isn't the scorched zucchini pretty? It's also a nice foil for the richness of all that toasted cheese. Clark's introduction didn't put me off either: WHY there is no cult devoted to crunchy fried cheese is beyond me. It’s as rich as bacon or pork belly, as crisp as chicken wings, and as tempting as a foie gras doughnut.
I couldn't agree more!
Recipe for Melissa Clark's Zucchini Frico at TC Taste/Minnesota Monthly Magazine.