Frisée, also known as curly endive, is a bitter green in the chicory family that’s related to radicchio, escarole, and the smaller, dainty Belgian endive. Like its cousins, it has a floral quality that accompanies the bitter, and it can hold up to both cooking and heavy dressing. You’ll often find it mixed in with other salad greens—vigorous tumbleweeds of pale green that are beloved by some, hated by others. Because it holds up to heat and dressing, I love it for breakfast with a warm bacon dressing and a poached egg. The egg yolk runs and covers the whole salad. If you don’t have or love tarragon, feel free to leave it out, but I find that that the slight licorice sweetness works well with the frisée.
- Yield: 4 Servings
- 8 ounces slab bacon or thickly cut bacon, cut into ½-inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more as needed
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 large head of frisée, separated and torn into bite-sized pieces
- 2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh tarragon leaves
- Kosher salt
- 4 large eggs
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Fry the bacon in the skillet, stirring often, until crispy, 5 to 7 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to fish out the bacon pieces, transferring them to a bowl. Pour the bacon fat into a large heatproof bowl, then add the olive oil, vinegar, and mustard to the hot bacon fat, whisking well. Add more olive oil if the dressing curdles. Add the frisée, tarragon, if using, and ¼ teaspoon salt to the dressing, tossing gently to coat each leaf in the warm dressing. Divide the greens among four bowls, and sprinkle the bacon bits over each bowl.
- Bring a small pot of water to a high simmer. (If you start with a wide pan, you can poach 2 eggs at a time.) Crack an egg into a ramekin or teacup and drain off the bit of watery white that will come off first. Make a gentle whirlpool in the water with a spoon, then slide the egg into the water and let it cook, undisturbed, for about 3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the egg to one of the bowls, placing it over the greens. Repeat with the remaining eggs. Sprinkle each bowl, concentrating mostly on the egg, with a bit more salt and lots of freshly ground pepper. Serve immediately.