Frisée - A Versatile and Distinctive Salad Green

Posted on May 03, 2018

By: Kayla Michaud, RD

Frisée is a type of salad green in the chicory family; it is also called curly endive and is made up of long, narrow, curly leaves. It has been used in European countries for some time but it wasn’t until the 1990’s that frisée gained popularity in America. It is now used at many restaurants in gourmet dishes with salads or as a decorative accent. With its mildly bitter taste, frisée is the perfect complement to salads with sweet ingredients or dressings. It also provides variety to salads in terms of color, texture, and overall appearance. Moreover, this special green holds its shape well. Frisée is no wilter!

Frisée is not found in all grocery stores nationwide but is easy to find in upscale grocers, local farmers markets, and some spring salad mixes. Frisée is not as easy to find as romaine or arugula, for instance, because it is relatively laborious and expensive to produce as a sole salad ingredient. If you’re looking for a substitute in the same green family with a similar flavor profile, you might try escarole.

Because frisée is a leafy green vegetable, it contains very few calories and is packed with beneficial nutrients. A single serving of frisée meets one-third of the daily recommended amounts of folic acid, vitamin A, and vitamin C, and it also contains small amounts of vitamin K and manganese. To discuss a few of these vitamins more specifically, vitamin A promotes healthy eyesight and acts as an antioxidant, and vitamin C is an antioxidant that is necessary for immune health. Vitamin K is vital for blood clotting and it also promotes bone health. All of these great benefits with virtually zero calories; hard to beat that!

There are many ways to incorporate frisée into everyday meals. Just remember, it does have a strong and distinct flavor, so a small amount can go a long way!

  • Simply add it to any salad to add a bitter and nutty flavor to your greens.
  • Sautée it with some lemon juice and a dash of maple syrup.
  • Use it as a decorative addition to dress up a main course.
  • Prepare it in a salad mix along with herbs, peppers, and croutons as well as a poached egg.
  • Pair it with sautéed mushrooms and shaved parmesan cheese for a warm, earthy salad.

If you’re ready to start using frisée in your meals, make sure it is rinsed before consumption and try out the HHS Chef Frank Boerdner’s recipe for Lyonnaise Salad if you’re looking for a fun and unique recipe!