Curly Is In!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Let me introduce you to a fabulous lettuce that I'm in love with lately. It's called frisee.

Pronounced "friz-zay," it's a type of endive and chicory that is also known as "curly endive." Other kinds of chicory/endive include raddichio and Belgian endive and can be found in the same loose lettuce section of your grocery store.

Frisee is a wonderful leafy green. Firstly, it has a wonderful bittersweet flavor to it that is characteristic of the chicory leafy veggies like raddichio or endive. I love it because it can be cooked or eaten raw like in a salad. And its surprisingly sturdy. Although the leaves themselves look delicate and soft, they actually retain their form quite well with a vinaigrette. In fact, frisee is often served with a poached egg on top, so that can give you an indication that it's actually quite sturdier than it appears.

But its bittersweet flavor is what makes it most special. Here's my favorite recipe doing the classic egg-bacon combo with a tangy Dijon vinaigrette from Emeril Lagasse. It's wonderful, so try it today!

1 baguette, thinly sliced on the bias 1/2 inch thick
9 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 lb sliced Comte cheese (can substitute with goat cheese)
1 lb lardon, cut into pieces (can substitute with bacon or pancetta)
2 finely chopped shallots
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp sherry vinegar (can substitute with red wine vinegar, but sherry is better)
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
4 Tbsp butter
6 large eggs
6 heads frisee, washed and dried

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Take 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and lightly oil each slice of the baguette. Top with a slice of cheese and place on a baking baking sheet. Bake in oven about 10 minutes until cheese is melted.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and add the lardon pieces. Cook until crispy and caramelized. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside on a plate lined with paper towel to drain excess oil.

To make the vinaigrette, combine the shallots, Dijon mustard, vinegar and remaining olive oil in a small bowl and whisk until combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

In a saute pan (or using the same bacon fat), add the butter and cook the eggs, one at a time until the yolks are set, about 2 minutes per side.

Toss the frisee with the vinaigrette and evenly distribute among 6 plates. Top each with an egg and two cheese croutons and serve immediately.

My notes:
I actually like using the rest of the bacon fat for the vinaigrette because it gives it more flavor and using fresh vegetable oil to do the eggs in a new pan.

You can substitute a creamy goat cheese like Montrachet if you can't find the Comte. I like adding some freshly ground black pepper to the goat cheese if I'm using that.

To save on calories, you can poach the eggs instead of frying them. To do this, just bring a small pot to a low simmer and add a tablespoon of white distilled vinegar. Crack an egg in a shallow container and gently ease it into the water. Let the egg cook in the water a couple of minutes until it just becomes firm and holds together. Don't'll lose some of the whites into the water and that's ok. Remove with a slotted spoon and place directly on the plate. You cannot do more than one egg at a time or else you'll run the risk of them combining together!

This makes a wonderful lunch or a bigger portion would make a great main course for a dinner.

No comments: