WHAT IS FRISEE LETTUCE?
Frisee is actually not a lettuce, but rather a close relative to chicory, escarole and endives. Restaurants love this green, frilly ingredient with its bitter, peppery taste. Both because of the strength of its flavor and cost, it’s usually 1 of several different greens incorporated into most salads. With a green color at the tips that gradually fades to a pale yellow (where sunlight doesn’t reach) at the core, it’s normally served raw. But it can be sautéed which while giving it a wilted look does diminish its bitterness. The strength of its flavor makes it a great additions for salads with blue cheese and other powerfully flavored ingredients.
WHY IS FRISEE LETTUCE GOOD FOR YOU?
As with most leafy green vegetables, it’s low in calories and rich in water and fiber. It’s also a good source of the vitamins A, C, K and the mineral manganese. Frisee is also a good source of folic acid.
WHEN IS FRISEE LETTUCE IN SEASON?
This is a summer crop but be careful as they prefer shade over direct sunlight. Crops are ready for harvest in about 8 weeks.
HOW SHOULD FRISEE LETTUCE BE STORED?
Like with all lettuce, clean thoroughly and store in your refrigerator with a damp towel. Make sure that the leaves are bright in color and fresh. Remove any sections that have brown spots. When storing, allow some air to flow into the bag a.k.a. don’t seal it airtight.
IS FRISEE A POPULAR PIZZA INGREDIENT?
Yes! This refugee from a salad bar is a great way to add some texture and flavor to a truffle pizza. Check out this amazing recipe from this Canadian chef for a white truffle pizza with frisee lettuce! The chef here uses fontina cheese, but a mild Italian washed rind like taleggio will work as well. If you choose to apply the truffle oil, wait until the last minute before sprinkling some on. And don’t be afraid to add a dash of balsamic glaze (or a tiny bit of balsamic vinegar) if you’re pizza has too much fat going on and needs some acid for contrast.