© Denzil Green
Frisée is not a lettuce, even though it’s often called “Frisée lettuce.” It is a leafy green related to endive and chicory.
It has rich green leaves on the outside; pale yellow-green leaves toward the centre of the plant. The leaves are crisp and look like fern fronds. They taste mildly bitter and have a bit of a peppery taste.
Choose ones with crisp, green leaves on the outside.
Tear into small pieces: chomping down on big pieces of it can make you feel like you’re chewing on a hedgehog.
As with other salad greens, only put vinaigrettes on at the last minute. Frisée leaves stand up well in salads with warm dressings. Some people feel, in fact, that warmth and heat even improves frisée, making its taste more mild and the frizzy leaves softer in the mouth, and for this reason call for it as an ingredient in warm salads and in pasta recipes.
Always refrigerate, unless you are planning to use that day.
When you get your frisée home, wrap it in a couple of paper towels, turn the plastic bag inside-out (if it came in one) and put it into the refrigerator. This should make it last several weeks. If it didn’t come in its own plastic bag (for instance when you’ve bought it from a farmer’s market), use another clean plastic bag that hasn’t had meat or seafood in it, or, store it in a purpose-made salad-leaf plastic storage tub.
Don’t wash frisée before storing, unless you are prepared there and then to dry it extremely well, as dampness will cause it to deteriorate more quickly.