May 27, 2013

With "FRISÉE", Bitter Is Better!

"Green Curled Ruffec" (Chicorium endiva) 
350 Seeds By - Seed Needs -

$1.65 - Amazon.com
Frisée is a lettuce from the chicory family. It has a spiky and firm leaf, which is mildly bitter. The outer leaves are green and spiky but firm, the inner leaves are lighter in color, even white, and have a milder taste. Frisée also comes in a broad leafed variety known as escarole.
Frisée is an exotic plant that resembles a lettuce gone horribly awry, with a pale green explosion of frizzy leaves that adds a nice contrast to green salads. Some consumers are radically opposed to frisee, while others adore the bitter and sometimes woody green.

Frisée was popularized in the United States in the 1990s by chefs across the country, who integrated the green into a wide variety of salads, and it has since become available in many upscale grocers and at some farmers' markets, including the farmers' market on Moloka'i (look for my friend Kay Hirayama, she's a small grower who gets there very early, and usually sits with her large cooler full of homegrown vegetables, just to the left of Bank of Hawaii). 

Because of the slightly bitter taste of frisée, it goes very well with the fresh fruit that we have in Hawaii, like a frisée salad with slices of fresh mango and avocado, topped with a sweet and tangy lilikoi vinaigrette. Or try this classic French salad made with a bed of frisée lettuce, topped with a fried egg and sprinkled with pieces of bacon (see recipe below). Cooking frisée will significantly reduce its bitterness. Frisée is often served as a vegetable steamed or braised, and can be added to soups for flavoring in the later stages of soup making. Or try sweating frisée in butter with chopped shallots. Finish with a drizzle of cream and serve as a vegetable. I love this beautiful stuff... I think you will also, give it a try.

Frisée Salad with Bacon & Eggs
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Frisée Salad with Bacon & Eggs
In France this salad is often called "Salade aux Lardons", combining tasty morsels of bacon with frisée, and then coated with a warm bacon vinaigrette dressing and topped with a poached egg.

Ingredients:
4 ounces slab bacon, cut into 1-by-1/4-inch strips
3 tablespoons white-wine vinegar or fresh lemon juice
1 to 2 teaspoon Dijon style mustard
12 ounces frisee, torn into pieces
salt and ground pepper
4 poached eggs
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons minced fresh chives

Procedure:
In a medium skillet, cook bacon over medium, tossing occasionally, until browned, 6 to 8 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain. Set bacon aside. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of bacon fat from skillet; return skillet to heat. Add mustard and vinegar; stir, scraping up browned bits until dressing is combined. In a large bowl, toss frisee with warm dressing. Add bacon, and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately, topped with a poached egg garnished with a pinch of cayenne pepper and minced chives. Makes 4 servings.

Frisée Salad with Fuji Apple, 
& Gorgonzola Cheese
I am a gorgonzola lover, a creamy, rich blue cheese from Italy that works beautifully with apples and frisée lettuce. Try and get gorgonzola from Italy, it's much better than the gorgonzola from anyplace else.

Ingredients:
1 head of frisée lettuce, chopped
1 fuji apple, sliced and seeded
1 Japanese cucumber, sliced
1/3 cup of toasted pumpkin seeds
2 ounces Italian Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
black pepper, freshly cracked
salt to taste

Procedure:
Mix the lemon juice, vinegar and mustard in a small bowl. Slowly incorporate the oil into the vinaigrette. In a large bowl, toss the frisée lettuce, cucumber, apples and vinaigrette. Serve with pumpkin seeds and crumbled cheese. Crack black pepper over the top with a sprinkle of salt. Makes 2
servings.

Grilled Turmeric-Spiced Chicken Wraps
with Avocado Salsa & Frisée

Ingredients for Chicken:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, crushed
2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs, trimmed

Ingredients for Tomato-Avocado Salsa:
6 medium tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch chunks (2 1/2 cups)
2 avocados, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks (1 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped red onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

2 cups frisée lettuce
8 flour tortillas (8-inch)

Procedure:
For the chicken, mix oil, garlic powder, sea salt, turmeric and red pepper in small bowl. Place chicken in large resealable plastic bag or glass dish. Add marinade; turn to coat well. Refrigerate 30 minutes or longer for extra flavor.

Meanwhile, for the Salsa, mix all ingredients in medium bowl. Cover. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Remove chicken from marinade. Discard any remaining marinade.

Grill chicken over medium-high heat 6 to 8 minutes per side or until cooked through. Cut chicken into thin strips. Place 1/4 cup frisée lettuce on each tortilla. Fill with chicken and salsa. Fold sides of tortilla over filling and serve. Makes 8 servings.


Frisée & White Bean Soup 
Ingredients:
2 bunches greens (frisée, Swiss chard, beet greens, etc.)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2, 15 ounce cans great northern white beans, drained and rinsed (2 cups)
3-4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Parmesan-reggiano cheese, grated

Procedure:
Wash greens. Remove any tough stems and chop into bite sized pieces. Heat oil in medium soup pot. Add garlic and sauté until golden. Add greens and sauté until soft (you may have to add them in batches if they don’t all fit into your pot). Add beans and stock. Simmer 15 minutes or so. Add salt and pepper to taste, top with freshly grated parmesan-reggiano cheese. Serve with crusty bread. Makes 4 servings.

Frisée au Gratin 
This traditional Belgian dish is usually made with Belgian endive, but frisée can be used instead (endive and frisée are, after all, two incarnations of the same vegetable). 

Ingredients:
1 head of frisée
2 cups soft bread, crust removed, shredded
1 cup milk
1 cup ham, cut in little squares (optional)
2 hard-boiled eggs
2/3 cup light cream
1 cup grated gruyere cheese
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste

Procedure:
Preheat oven to 400°F. Boil salted water in a pot large enough to take a head of frisée. Boil until wilted. Drain, cool, and cut lengthwise in strips. Place strips side-by-side in a buttered gratin dish. Put the soft bread in the milk. Mash the hard-boiled eggs with a fork. Mix together the eggs and the bread/milk mixture (add extra milk if necessary to obtain a creamy consistency). Add the ham, salt, pepper and the nutmeg. Mix well and pour over frisée strips. Pour the cream over the frisée, and sprinkle with grated cheese. Add some little cubes of butter over the dish. Bake for 15-20 minutes, then broil for 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Makes 4-6 servings.

Frisée and Caramelized Onions
Ingredients:
1 head of frisée
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 yellow onions, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
juice of 1 lemon or 1/2 cup heavy cream (to soften the bitterness of the frisée)
salt and pepper to taste

Procedure:
Boil salted water in a pot large enough to take ahead of frisée. Boil until wilted. Drain, let cool, and chop coarsely. In a large skillet, sauté the onions in oil until caramelized. Add garlic and continue sautéing for 1-2 minutes. Incorporate steamed frisée and lemon juice (or cream). Add salt and pepper to taste and serve. Makes 2 servings.

Beet, Spinach and Frisée Salad
Ingredients:
3 medium red or golden beets
juice of one orange plus water to make one cup
1/3 cup sweetened dried cranberries
2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
1 tablespoon minced shallots
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon walnut oil or a fruity olive oil
4 cups frisée
4 cups baby spinach
1 cup mint leaves (optional)
2 ounces Mozzarella, diced in 1⁄2 inch dice, or firm tofu or crumbled soft (log-style) goat cheese

Procedure:
Preheat oven to 400°F. Wrap each beet in aluminum foil. Bake for 1 hour or until tender. Discard foil; cool beets for 30 minutes. Trim off beet roots; rub off skins. Cut into 1/8-inch thick slices. Combine orange juice, water, cranberries, and vinegar in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil; cook 11 minutes or until mixture thickens. Remove from heat. Stir in shallots, salt, and pepper. Gradually add oil, stirring with a whisk. Combine lettuce, spinach and mint leaves (if using) in a largebowl. Add cranberry mixture; toss to coat. Add beets; toss gently to combine. Divide salad evenly among 6 plates. Top each salad with 4 teaspoons cheese. Makes 6 servings.
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