Cookbook author Mindy Toomay's blog about eating for health, cooking with spirit, and celebrating life in northern California. Here she dishes up food rants and raves, recipes, and plenty of kitchen wisdom.

By your own efforts, waken yourself, watch yourself, and live joyfully.
-- The Dhammapada

Why not make a daily pleasure out of a daily necessity?
-- Peter Mayle


Hooray for frisee

I'm in love with a frilly little lettuce called frisee (pro-nounced free-zay). As a member of the chicory family, it has a decidedly bitter flavor note. And we all know bitter greens are good for us, right? They stimulate digestion and help the secretion of bile, which keeps the liver working smoothly. (Over-simplified explanation, but that's the basic story as I understand it.) Chicory also provides good doses of fiber, calcium, and iron.

I like working with the bitter greens, learning to balance their palate-bracing flavor with sweet, salty, sour, and piquant notes. The goal of such experiments is to achieve a pleasing symmetry of taste, where no one flavor predominates.

Tonight's salad was a deliciously successful combination: frisee, red cabbage, and juicy golden heirloom tomatoes. Delicious with a quick and simple fresh basil and honey vinaigrette.

Here are basic instructions for making the latter (quantities approximate):

1) Put a small handful of fresh basil leaves in your blender.
2) Add about 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon of cider vinegar, and a teaspoon of honey, along with a pinch of salt and a grind of black pepper.
3) Puree, then taste and correct the seasonings, if necessary.
4) Toss with your favorite bitter green salad mix.

I hope you'll start to play with frisee in your own kitchen.

Blessings and bon appetit!


At 12:57 AM, Anonymous sher said...

I love frisee. It's delicious--and looks very pretty in a salad. Plus, it's good for us. What more could we want?

At 10:35 AM, Anonymous Ivonne said...

I love frisee, Mindy! But so often I just don't think of it when I'm at the market. Thanks for reminding me how good this is for me!

At 10:32 AM, Blogger gray la gran said...

frisee always reminds me of the crystalline entity from star trek.

At 10:29 AM, Anonymous Geraldine said...

I love frisee too! I was introduced to it (formally LOL) during the photo shoot for NJFV. One of the food stylists suggested adding to some of the salads in photos, it just made them 'pop' frisee photographs so well. Tastes good too.



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