Chef Walter’s Flavors + Knowledge: Frisee With Walnuts, Apples, Grapes, & Blue Cheese

Wednesday, May 24, 2017
Master Chef Walter Potenza, GoLocalWorcester Food Expert

Serve 8

Frisee is a type of chicory that has exploded onto gourmet plates. The exotic plant resembles a lettuce gone horribly awry, with a pale green explosion of frizzy leaves that adds a frisky note to green salads. Some consumers are radically opposed to frisee, while others adore the bitter and sometimes woody green. This green was popularized in the United States in the 1990s by chefs across the country, who integrated it into a wide variety of salads, and it has since become available in many upscale grocers and at some farmers' markets.

When cooking with frisee, always tear it rather than using a knife. Like other greens, it should be washed before consumption. Remember that the inner leaves are the tenderest and can be used in more abundance than the tougher outer leaves. Because it can brown or yellow, cut it shortly before use and dress it directly before bringing it to the table so that it doesn't discolor or become waterlogged. This green makes a spicy addition to green salads, or it can be served in more complex gourmet salads, starring with walnut vinaigrette and other bitter greens.

Ingredients

Apple Cider Vinaigrette (yield: 1 quart) 

2 cups apple cider

3/4 cup cider vinegar

1 each Granny Smith apple, brunoise

3 cups vegetable oil

2 tbsp chopped tarragon leaves

2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground white pepper

1/2 tsp sugar, as needed

 

Frisee with Walnuts, Apples, Grapes, and Blue Cheese

10 oz Apple Cider Vinaigrette (see recipe)

20 oz frisée lettuce

2 each apples (any tart apple)

5 oz green grapes cut in half lengthwise

1/2 cup toasted and coarse-chopped walnuts

5 oz blue cheese, crumbled 

Apple Cider Vinaigrette directions

Reduce the cider to 6 fluid ounces. Combine the cider reduction, the vinegar, and the brunoise apple. Whisk in the oil gradually Add the tarragon and adjust seasoning with salt, sugar, and pepper.

Notes: Six ounces of apple juice concentrate may be substituted for the apple cider when it is not available. This dressing can be puréed in a blender for smooth, creamier vinaigrette.

Salad Preparation

Prepare the Vinaigrette.

Clean and thoroughly dry the frisee. Portion as necessary for single servings or larger batch salads. Hold under refrigeration until ready to serve.

Just before serving, slice the apples. If necessary, hold the apple slices in acidulated water.

Salad Assembly

Just before serving, whisk the vinaigrette vigorously and adjust seasonings. For each portion, toss 2 ounces of the frisee with 2 tablespoons of vinaigrette. Arrange on chilled plates, top with apple slices, grapes, walnuts, and blue cheese. Serve immediately

 

Master Chef Walter Potenza is the owner of Potenza Ristorante in Cranston, Chef Walters Cooking School and Chef Walters Fine Foods. His fields of expertise include Italian Regional Cooking, Historical Cooking from the Roman Empire to the Unification of Italy, Sephardic Jewish Italian Cooking, Terracotta Cooking, Diabetes and Celiac. Recipient of National and International accolades, awarded by the Italian Government as Ambassador of Italian Gastronomy in the World. Currently on ABC6 with Cooking Show “Eat Well."  Check out the Chef's website and blog.

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