We really wish we were more into salad than we are. It’s light, it’s healthy, it’s fresh. It’s also difficult to crave. For us, eating salad instead of a heartier meal for dinner has always been the equivalent of reading The Confessions of St. Augustine instead of US Weekly. We know it’s more wholesome, but that certainly doesn’t make it more fun. It figures, then, that our favorite salad green is frisee, which is, historically, involved with some very un-salad-like (that is to say, unhealthy) salads. The bitterness of frisee (a member of the same family as endive and chicory) combines extremely well with the fattiness of pancetta and bacon, so most frisee-based salads, such as the bistro classic frisee aux lardons, combine the green with some sort of fatty pork. Mmm. Fatty pork. Though these frisee-heavy salads may not be healthy, per se, they are delicious. Below, four of the area’s best:
•Brasserie Jo, one of our favorite Boston spots for French, offers a very basic and simple frisee aux lardons. Frisee, bacon, a poached egg and you’re good to go.
•Grafton Street Pub & Grill offers an even more decadent embellishment of the frisee aux lardons with their frisee salad, which features blue cheese in addition to pancetta and a boiled egg.
•Carmen’s frisee salad ups the bitterness by featuring standard endive alongside the frisee. Fortunately, it also boosts the overall tastiness by adding smoked bacon, roasted shallot, pecorino, and a prosecco vinaigrette.
•Eastern Standard? More like Gold Standard as far as frisee in Boston is concerned. The subject of its very own piece in the Globe, the salad contains all the standard features of a frisee aux lardons, but adds one exciting new ingredient: sweetbreads crisped in bacon fat. If that’s not perfection, we don’t know what is.