Frilly, Crunchy & Crazy Bitter: Frisée

Ingredient Spotlight

If appearances were any indication, you'd expect lacy fronds of frisée to have a delicately sweet flavor best suited for a salad more pretty than tasty. And you'd be wrong. Nibble a piece of frisée, and you'll be met with one surprisingly bitter green. What do you think of frisée?

Frisée comes by its bitterness naturally. It's a member of the chicory family and can count endive and radicchio as its cousins. It also has a nicely crunchy texture that holds up well in dressed salads. And yes, a little mound of airy, barely-balanced frisée on a salad plate definitely makes a pretty picture at a dinner party.

Because of its bold flavor, frisée needs a firm hand when it comes to putting together a salad. It goes well with rich, creamy dressings and ingredients that complement its unique flavor and texture. Think: crunchy herbed croutons, cured meats, candied nuts, and tart dried fruits. One of the most classic takes on the frisée salad involves pork belly lardons, a poached egg, and a salad dressing made from the lardon drippings. It doesn't get much better than that!

Frisée Salad with Red Currants
Frisée Salad with Lardons and Poached Egg from Epicurious
Quinoa Salad with Frisée, Eggplant, and Corn from Saveur
Frisée with Walnuts and Balsamic-Sherry Vinaigrette from The Splendid Table
Frisée and Green Apple Salad with Goat Cheese Toasts from Martha Stewart

Do you have a favorite salad with frisée?

(Image: Tobik/Shutterstock)