In my opinion, frisée is the quintessential French Bistro Salad. I am never bored by it, and whether summer or winter, I always enjoy it.
There are some tricky bits though. You must use frisée and you must use smoked slab bacon cut into lardons.
Just to be clear, frisée (pronounced “free-ZAY”) in the culinary arts, is used to refer to a variety of endive with curly, pale-green or yellowish leaves. Frisée is not easy to find, it seems to be seasonal and hit and miss; I have tried this recipe with escarole, romaine, etc. have found that it’s not worth making if you cannot use frisée!
Restaurants seem to have a steady supply, so you could always ask where they get their frisée. I did, and found after some trial and error that Whole Foods carries frisée, provided you get there on a Monday or Tuesday as the restaurants buy it up in preparation for their week-end business . If you live in Toronto, the Harvest Wagon at Yonge and Summerhill or the St Lawrence Market will carry it. If you can’t find it like this, grocery stores will carry it periodically. I’ve actually seen frisée imported from Belgium on my grocery store shelves. Best to wait until you are lucky enough to find it and enjoy!
Finding smoked (or double smoked) side bacon is the second challenge. Again, if you don’t have it before starting the recipe, wait until you do. Surprisingly, I found it at a local grocer in the Annex in Toronto, but move north to Aurora, it’s different and not suitable. If you can find a German influenced community, you may have luck.
Sometimes finding ingredients is a challenge, I will google until I get a hit, in Sarasota for instance, there is an Amish community, and I found a butcher who buys from the Amish.
It sounds complicated, but I have found both ingredients, and once you have the sources, you can make it whenever you want.