Frisée is probably more recognized as "that spiky leaf" in salad mixes but it certainly is more than worthy to be admired in its own right.
Part of the Daisy family, Frisée is a close relative of endive/chicory - its familial bitter flavours developing as the leaves darken. If you prefer a more delicate flavour then seek out the inner leaves that are a pale yellow in colour.
To honour this leaf, I'll take inspiration from that classic French Bistro dish - Frisée aux Lardons - a dressed salad of frisée mixed with crisp bacon lardons and topped with a wonderfully gooey poached egg.
Frisée aux Lardons
frisée, leaves separated, washed and dried
bacon lardons (substitute pancetta or speck)
Seeded Mustard Dressing:
4 parts olive oil
1 part sherry vinegar
seeded mustard, to taste
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Make the dressing:
Place the olive oil, sherry vinegar, seeded mustard and a good grinding of salt and black pepper into a bowl - whisk until emulsified.
Prepare the lardons:
Lardons are just thick strips of bacon - I buy bacon in whole pieces and just cut them to size. You can buy them pre-made or use pancetta or speck if you prefer.
Dry-fry the bacon in a non-stick pan until crisp - they will release any excess fat as they cook. When done, dry them on kitchen paper to remove any excess fat.
Assemble the salad:
Place the frisée leaves into a bowl and drizzle over the dressing - toss them well to just coat them.
Put the dressed leaves onto a plate and then scatter over with the cooked lardons.
You can add a little extra dressing over the salad if desired.
Finally top the salad with a soft poached egg - if you are a bit unsure when it comes to poaching eggs, do what Nigella does and just use a shelled soft boiled egg - the end result is virtually the same.
When you slice through the egg, the warm yolk will spill out and join with the dressing to give it an almost creamy texture. This is excellent with slices of fresh baguette or even as the filling to a baguette roll - the bread must be fresh to be able to soak up those wonderful juices.