When I hear Rachael Ray say she was going to make Caesar-Filled Fricos, my first thought was, "Caesar-filled what?" The fricos are little bowls made out of baked Parmesan cheese. And not that powdery stuff that comes out of a green can - we're talking the real deal Parmigiano Reggiano.
I made these little guys for a playdate (ahhh, how life has changed....) and they were definitely the hit of the party. However, next time I throw a playdate I don't think I'll be quite so adventurous in my menu selection, since making all the little cups was kind of a pain. Well, to be perfectly honest, I always burn stuff in the oven, so that part of it was tough! My fricos were definitely darker than Rach's.
Rachael made these on her talk show and they are not intended as a 30 minute meal, but I think if you are better at keeping track of things in the oven, they could be made in 30 minutes! I used ramekins because I didn't have an egg carton. Here's the recipe with my comments in brackets:
1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, plus extra for salad
1/2 tablespoon flour
1 to 2 romaine hearts, chopped
Anchovy paste, to taste
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), for drizzling
Yields: 4 servings
Preheat an oven to 400ºF.
In a small bowl, combine the Parmigiano and the flour.
On a large nonstick baking sheet, place about 2 tablespoons of the grated cheese in circles about 4 inches across. Place the baking sheet into the oven until they start to smell nutty and the cheese is melted and golden brown, about 10 minutes. [Took more like 6 or 7 minutes in my oven.]
Once the cheese is golden, remove the tray from the oven. Working quickly [stress!], lift up the cheese rounds with a small knife or spatula and press them into the cups of an egg carton with your fingers to shape them into small bowls. Let cool. [I used a paper towel to grab the hot cheese because I am a wimp.]
While the cheese bowls are cooling, combine the lettuce, anchovy paste, lemon juice and Parmigiano in a mixing bowl. [I took a shortcut and just bought Caesar dressing from the store.] Season with salt, freshly ground black pepper and a drizzle of EVOO, and toss to combine.
When the cheese cups are completely cooled, arrange them on a serving platter and fill each one with a small scoop of the Caesar salad. Serve immediately.