05 Oct2012

I think I have only made this salad in Manila once before, after bringing back some wonderful frisee from Saigon a couple of years ago. It has to rank up there in my top 10 salads ever… the slightly bitter greens, the comforting mix of egg, bacon and some bread on the side. It also has a really simple dressing of lardon or bacon drippings, good wine vinegar and shallots. Yum. So when Nico of Down2Earth produce emailed to say he had some locally grown frisee, I made sure I could get to the market early that weekend to claim the lettuce I have been waiting many many years for someone to grow and sell locally…

One of several types of endive, this particular curly endive is pale in the center and has the frilliest yet sturdy, slightly bitter leaves. It is somehow the perfect match for the substantial classic french toppings of bacon and eggs… If you have never tried this salad before, look for it on bistro menus when traveling and make sure to give it a go…

The salad just won’t be the same if you don’t use frisee. While I had placed an order for a kilo of frisee, when I got to the Salcedo market stall, they had forgotten to bring my order to market, but they managed to cobble together 500 grams of lettuce from what they had on display. For the Philippines, which only has a few growing areas with cool temperatures, this was very nice frisee. Grown in the highlands of Bukidnon, I was so pleased to have access to it… thanks Nico!

Wash the greens thoroughly and put them in a spinner. Chill them to crisp the greens. Chop your lardons or bacon into small chunks. Slice your shallots or small native onions thinly. Have good wine vinegar at the ready. In one pan, over medium-high heat, render the bacon until it is lightly brown and crisp-chewy, remove the bacon and turn off the heat in the pan. In another pot, poach an egg for every serving of salad you intend to have. I am not a great poacher, so I don’t do it often. Bring a small pot with water and clear white vinegar (say 3 teaspoons for 5 cups) to a simmer, then carefully drop a whole egg (without the shell) into the water and “poach” it for about a minute or so. When the whites are set, carefully remove it. I like the yolks to be very soft.

Once you have finished or are about to finish with the eggs, turn the heat back on under your frying pan with bacon fat and saute your shallots for a few seconds until softened. Add some wine vinegar to deglaze the pan and create your simple hot dressing. Season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper and pour over your greens and toss lightly to coat most of the leaf surfaces. Plate the greens up.

Sprinkle the salads with generous amounts of lardon or bacon and add a single poached egg to each portion. A touch of good sea salt on the egg is the final little touch. I suspect the prospect of eating a half raw egg on lettuce is making some of you squirm, but don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. It’s an excellent combination — frilly but substantial greens, with a slightly bitter tinge softened by the vinegar dressing. A soft warm egg oozing onto your plate with salty, savory hits of bacon. Everything tastes better with bacon I think.

A big plate of this salad and some nice french baguette on the side and I am one HAPPY CAMPER for lunch. Hopefully in the months and years ahead, finding frisee in the groceries will be as common as finding romaine/cos lettuce is today (ten years ago, romaine was nearly impossible to find)…



  1. bakerwannabe says:

    Yum. Light but filling meal. Balsamic vinegar would be good too.

    Oct 5, 2012 | 6:51 am


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  3. myra_p says:

    Nico’s the best. Now to convince him to grow fresh peas or sugar snaps…

    Oct 5, 2012 | 7:40 am

  4. Marketman says:

    myra_p, I still remember when you sent me the heads up that he was coming to the market… I think I bought nearly all his stock on his first day! :) Thanks for that! And yes, peas indeed, including the tendrils, that are superb in salads as well.

    Oct 5, 2012 | 7:43 am

  5. myra_p says:

    Yeah, I think you shocked him :)

    Fresh peas are SO DELICIOUS. Canned/frozen peas are nowhere close to how a sweet, fresh pea tastes like. My first taste was a just-plucked sugar snap from my tita’s garden in Long Island… Raw, crispy, sweet and warm from the sun.

    It would be great to make a creamy fresh pea soup to go with that frisee salad. Just saying.

    Oct 5, 2012 | 8:08 am

  6. wendy darling says:

    all-day breakfast menus can go hang – now this is how I want my bacon and eggs!

    Oct 5, 2012 | 8:08 am

  7. dhanggit says:

    Delicious, this is like french lyonais salad sans chicken liver and gizzard! yum! I normally find romaine salad in my suki at guadalupe market :-)

    Oct 5, 2012 | 8:11 am

  8. Khew says:

    Are these grown in soil or hydroponically?

    Oct 5, 2012 | 8:41 am

  9. Marketman says:

    Khew, in soil I believe. And totally organic.

    Oct 5, 2012 | 10:45 am

  10. Monty says:

    Speaking of lettuce, the price of romaine after the recent monsoon floods more than doubled to beyond P600 per kg. Dole was the only seller at that time and I think their stocks came from Bukidnon. Most of the romaine in Manila comes from Baguio but we were told that the lack of sunshine there prevented the lettuce from growing properly. Must have been a gloomy month up north.

    Oct 5, 2012 | 2:50 pm

  11. Pamela says:

    I am from Cagayan de Oro City, only a couple of hours away from Bukidnon but unlike you, I could never easily get my hands on this type of produce. I hope the seller makes them readily available here too.

    Oct 5, 2012 | 3:19 pm

  12. Sam says:

    i definitely agree, a lunch favorite!

    Oct 5, 2012 | 4:20 pm

  13. marilen says:

    All the great favorites together, ‘bacon’ and eggs on grass!!

    Oct 5, 2012 | 10:04 pm

  14. PITS, MANILA says:

    same hopes for the frisee and other very hard-to-find items in manila, MM. loving bacon just looking at the photos. an egg-poacher has been in my wish list for quite some time now …

    Oct 6, 2012 | 7:33 am

  15. Roddy says:

    Love this salad. Especially when the yolk sort of emulsifies with the dressing to create a messy mayo-like dressing

    Oct 6, 2012 | 11:21 am

  16. corrine says:

    Nice looking greens! May I know where Nico sells his produce? Pamela, I used to order organic veggies from personalfarmet.net whose farm is in Bukidnon. Used to be sent via PAL but they stopped selling retail. It comes to me in very good state… like freshly picked. Maybe this farm can sell to a wholesaler in CDO. Over here, I’m envious that Quezon City people seem to have more access to cheaper and varied organic produce than us in Alabang, Paranaque area. :(

    Oct 7, 2012 | 12:30 pm

  17. Shalimar says:

    I love watching Raymund Blanc doing this salad Lyonaisse…..

    Oct 7, 2012 | 5:39 pm

  18. Elodie Amora says:

    this reminds me of a popular French dish we make here. Love Frisee salad! Im so lucky to be in france right now. I can find them anywhere, any time I want :)

    Oct 8, 2012 | 5:47 am

  19. Kasseopeia says:

    We do a bastardized version at home using what I find at the grocery labelled “Green Ice” but usually buy by the bunch at the wet market. We render fat from thinly-sliced liempo simply salted. The lettuce is sliced thinly and tossed in a bowl with diced de-seeded tomatoes, finely chopped red onion, and chopped (very) soft-boiled eggs. In a separate bowl, a mix of vinegar and patis is whisked together. Once the liempo is taken out of the pan and the heat turned off, the vinegar and patis is thrown into the pan and the whole thing is poured onto the greens and tossed.

    We serve this with the now-crisp liempo, and lots of hot white rice. =)

    Oct 8, 2012 | 2:38 pm

  20. sushishower says:

    i often see this frisee in our Baguio markets…. not all year round but i see them especially from the organic stands, even at Cafe by the Ruins

    Oct 12, 2012 | 8:47 am

  21. Marianne Cayco says:

    true, we could only get romaine greens at Tagaytay markets before (Gourmet’s)… now it’s available here at Manila supermarkets, though not as fresh :)

    Oct 16, 2012 | 11:38 am


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