Here’s what to know about frisee! This delicate, frilly lettuce is ideal for adding texture and sophistication to salads.
What’s with that frizzled lettuce perched next to romaine and iceberg at the grocery? It’s frisee! Frisée, aka curly endive, is a leafy green with frilly leaves and a subtly bitter flavor. Its feathery leaves work great as a statement in salads, adding loads of texture and drama. Here’s more about it, how to keep it fresh, and ways it use it in recipes!
All about frisee
Frisée goes by several different names, including curly endive and endive lettuce. It’s part of the chicory family and technically a type of endive, though Belgian endive looks much different with its white color and cylindrical shape.
What does frisee taste like? It’s fluffy and crunchy, a hydrating burst with bitter peppery notes on the finish. Pair it with strong flavors like bold dressings, cheeses, eggs, cured meats and more. It’s also a nice contrast to other types of greens in a salad. (See the recipe ideas below!)
Buying and storing frisee
What to look for when you’re buying frisée at the store? Here’s what to know:
- Can’t find it at the store? Look for a head of ruffled leaves marked as frisee, curly endive, or endive lettuce. (While it’s not technically the best descriptor, the latter was the case at our local grocery.)
- Expect variation in size and texture. Some heads of frisee are very small and frizzy, others have larger leaves (like the photo above). This varies based on the maturity of the lettuce. We prefer a younger, more tender plant because it’s fluffier with a milder flavor, but it can be hard to find.
- Store frisee refrigerated for 5 days. It stays best unwashed and wrapped in paper towel in a plastic bag. Wash it before serving, then thoroughly dry in a salad spinner or with towels.
Frisee is most often eaten raw, in salads or even as a garnish for dishes. It’s most well known for its use the famous French bistro salad, salade Lyonnaise, topped with lardons and a poached egg. Or, you can even sauté it! Here are a few recipe ideas:
More quick guides? Try Quick Guide to Endive, Quick Guide to Romaine and Quick Guide to Butter Lettuce.
This frisee salad is refreshing and sophisticated, pairing this frilly leafy green with orange, almonds and a zingy vinaigrette.
For the frisee salad
- 1 large or 2 to 3 small heads frisée* (may be marked as curly endive or endive lettuce)
- 1 orange, plus zest
- 1 shallot
- 1 ounce Manchego cheese (or shaved Parmesan cheese; omit for vegan)
- 2 tablespoons sliced almonds
- 1 handful fresh mint leaves, optional
For the dressing (makes ½ cup; use 3 to 4 tablespoons)
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- Fresh ground black pepper
- Wash and dry the frisée, using a salad spinner or clean towel. Tear or chop the frisee into pieces.
- Zest half the orange. Then segment the orange, following the instructions in How to Cut an Orange.
- Thinly slice the shallot. Slice the Manchego cheese into pieces.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the white wine vinegar, Dijon, maple syrup or honey, salt. Whisk in the oil 1 tablespoon at a time until a creamy dressing forms. Add a few grinds of fresh ground black pepper. Serve immediately or refrigerate up to 2 weeks (bring to room temperature prior to serving).
- Serve the salad: place the greens on a large platter or separate plates. Top with orange slices, shallot, cheese, sliced almonds, orange zest, and mint leaves. Drizzle with about 3 to 4 tablespoons of the dressing, to taste.
*Sizes available at stores vary greatly based on the maturity of the plant. See the photo above for a large head of frisee. If the heads are very small you may need 2 to 3. Estimate about 6 cups greens total.
- Category: Salad
- Method: No Cook
- Cuisine: Salad
- Diet: Vegetarian