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Known for its curly pale-green leaves, frisée lettuce can bring dimension and texture to any salad preparation with its mildly bitter, peppery flavor and crunchy leaves.

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What Is Frisée?

Frisée is a member of the chicory family, a group of bitter, leafy vegetables that includes radicchio, escarole, and the Belgian endive. Heads of frisée, also known as curly endive, are thick and bushy with lacy, frazzled stems.

How to Buy Frisée

At the grocery store, look for tightly packed frisée heads with vibrant, dark green outer leaves fading to a light green and then pale yellow center. The ends of the leaves should be free of any discoloration or brown spots.

How to Store Frisée

To prevent early wilting or spoilage, store frisée in the fridge in a sealed plastic bag, unwashed, until you’re ready to use it. Wash thoroughly in cold water, and use a salad spinner to get rid of any excess moisture— frisée leaves hold on to lots of water.

How to Prepare Frisée

To prepare a frisée salad, tear sections apart into bite-size pieces using your hands to keep the leaves intact. (The stiff, branching leaves can be difficult to maneuver around a fork when left too large.) When preparing frisée for cooking, fold and gather the frisée, then use your knife to make one-inch cuts across the lettuce until you reach the white and yellow heart of the frisée, which is extremely bitter and traditionally not eaten.

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5 Ways to Serve Frisée

Frisée’s inherent bitterness allows it to complement and balance richer components.

  1. Make a bistro salad. Pair frisée with salty, fatty lardons or pancetta, poached eggs, and shallot and mustard vinaigrette to create your own spin on a Lyonnaise-style French bistro salad.
  2. Serve with chicken. Dress frisée with a vinaigrette made from pan drippings and sherry vinegar, alongside roasted chicken.
  3. Pair with fruit. Serve frisée with ripe slices of peach, citrus or persimmon, roasted, caramelized walnuts, and creamy blue cheese for a flavorful appetizer.
  4. Sautée with garlic. Garlic sautéed greens go with almost everything: Sauté frisée with olive oil and a few finely chopped garlic cloves then store it in the fridge. Use the sautéed greens as a garnish or light snack.
  5. Add it to a sandwich. Tuck frisée into a sandwich with whole-grain mustard, cold cuts, and pickled red onion for a striking yet subtle bitter note.

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