Remember Cheez-Its? Well, going on a Primal diet doesn’t mean saying goodbye to crispy cheesy goodness! My Primal Cheese Crisps, which are a variation of an Italian dish called a “frico,” couldn’t be easier to make. A traditional Italian frico (pronounced free-coe) is made with Montasio cheese that is fried in butter, lard or olive oil, but just about any semi- to hard cheese will work. Since Primal Cheese Crisps cannot be made without cheese, this recipe is not Paleo friendly, but it is Primal friendly if you use a high quality cheese!
Primal Cheese Crisps can be made in a skillet on a stove-top, but I prefer to make my Primal Cheese Crisps in the oven, where I can eliminate the addition of butter, lard or olive oil to prevent sticking and–more importantly–where I can make a bigger batch!
The BEST thing about making Primal Cheese Crisps is that they are so darn versatile! You can use just about any cheese that you have on hand. I love to use Parmesan Reggiano, but my guilty favorite cheese to use is pre-sliced Sara Lee Mild Cheddar Cheese, which is already cut into half slices, which I just bend in half to make quarter slices. I’ve tried a lot of higher end cheese options (most of which were pretty tasty), but Sara Lee Mild Cheddar produces that rich, deep savory cheddar flavor that I crave. I have had some misses, too, most notably the Cello Variety Pack Cracker Cut Slices, which are also available at Costco. I LOVE the Cello Variety Pack for snacking, but the cheeses had a weird aftertaste once baked. The moral of the story is . . . if your first cheese doesn’t succeed, try, try again!
First, select your cheese or cheeses and any optional spices that you may wish to mix in, like black pepper, fennel seeds or crushed rosemary. If you do opt to add in spices, go easy–a little goes a long way! Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F and line a baking sheet with either parchment paper or a Silpat silicone mat. If using a block of cheese, grate desired amount using large/coarse grater, toss with any optional spices and place 1 tablespoon mounds on lined baking sheet about 2 inches apart. If using sliced cheese, cut slices into quarters, sprinkle with any optional spices and place quarters on lined baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Place in oven. Set timer for 8 minutes. After 8 minutes, check on doneness in 2 minute intervals, as the crisps can turn from perfection to burnt fairly quickly. When browned to your taste (I prefer a deep golden brown), remove from oven. Wait a few minutes, then use a spatula to gently lift crisps onto paper towels to drain any excess oils. These are best eaten on the day made, as storing them in a closed container will make them soft.
Primal Cheese Crisps are delicious on their own, but also serve as a great base for guacamole. By the way, if you have a Costco nearby, don’t miss the Good Foods’ Tableside Chunky Guacamole in the refrigerator section. It comes in super convenient single serve, 80-calorie packs and is 100% Paleo- and Primal-diet friendly–and DEEEE-LICIOUS! My cousin Maureen tops her Primal Cheese Crisps with a spoonful of shrimp salad to make a scrumptious seafood nacho. I’d love to hear some of your serving suggestions in the comment section!
- Cheese (Montasio, Parmesan Reggiano, Cheddar or other semi- to hard- high quality cheese)
- Parchment paper or Silpat silicone mat
- Optional (black pepper, fennel seeds and/or crushed rosemary to taste--but go easy)
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat silicone mat.
- If using a block of cheese, grate desired amount using large/coarse grater, toss with any optional spices and place 1 tbs. mounds on lined baking sheet about 2 inches apart.
- If using sliced cheese, cut slices into quarters, sprinkle with any optional spices and place quarters on lined baking sheet about 2 inches apart.
- Place in oven.
- Set timer for 8 minutes.
- After 8 minutes, check on doneness in 2 minute intervals, as the crisps can turn from perfection to burnt fairly quickly.
- When browned to your taste (I prefer a deep golden brown), remove from oven.
- Wait a few minutes, then use a spatula to gently lift crisps onto paper towels to drain any excess oils.
- Crisps are best eaten the day made, but can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days. If they lose crispness, you can briefly "toast" in a toaster oven on the lowest setting.
- Enjoy your Primal Cheese Crisps!