Off the Menu with Dara can be heard every Saturday from 11 a.m. to noon on News Radio 830 WCCO! See all of Mpls. St.Paul Magazine’s Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl’s Top 5 lists here!
In honor of having Mary Falk, one of America’s greatest cheesemakers, on the show this weekend, I thought I’d put together a few of the fanciest recipes I know of for showcasing great cheeses—this is not a utility cheese, nacho situation, these are the recipes for the good splurgy stuff you bust out for the holidays. Here are the Top 5 Cheese Recipes!
The first time I made “frico”, which is basically just grated hard cheese, cooked till it turns into a crispy thing, I was in a restaurant kitchen on Cape Cod, and I thought I had beheld magic. We used to make frico discs to-order for a particular garnish, but then sometimes when the kitchen was slow we’d just make them to eat. When they’re still hot you can mold them into funny shapes—I recommend this as a hobby. If you put them on a rolling pin you get a sort of scoop or wave. If you put them over an upside-down shot glass you get a cup. Now that I’m all grown up I know you can also make them in the oven a bunch at a time. This is good too. You can add a seasoning like cumin or fennel seed if you really want to, but I never do. I do however like them made from different cheeses—aged cheddar, good gouda, and so on.
Mario Batali’s Frico Friulano
A cake made with potatoes, eggs, and onions—and that’s all! This Italian country food is just one of those things that’s nothing but simple joy. I would eat this every day if I was absolutely free!
Dominique Crenn’s insanely difficult grilled cheese
Are you a grilled cheese warrior? Super good with a pan and some butter? Well have I got a challenge for you. In honor of Dominique Crenn, one of the world’s best chefs who is briefly in town and to whom I will be talking to on Wednesday night in St. Paul at our Tastemakers event, I present: “The world’s most insanely difficult grilled cheese!” You have to smoke an avocado—literally, get out your wood chips—and a hundred more things. Or just gawk at the recipe. She’s a genius. Then come see us on Wednesday night at 8 p.m. It’s free at the Market House St. Paul. I can’t wait!
Parmesan cheese spread
Imagine if you made hummus, but instead of using beans, you used a good hard cheese, finely grated, blended with olive oil and a bit of white wine. This is so easy and good. It’s the easiest cheese dip!
You know what you can do with a recipe that’s little more than cheese, flour, and butter? So much! You can pipe them out with your Spritz-cookie-gun, you can roll them into logs and slice into coins, you can give them to toddlers to run through a Play-Doh press. Then when you bake them you’ve got the cheesiest, best crackers ever. This recipe is very, very, very flexible—add chili pepper if that’s your thing, add minced up pancetta, try different cheeses, it’s gold.