Frisee, Escarole and Dandelion greens are in the endive and chicory family. Traditional Italian endive hearts that you can buy at the store don't grow well here because of the heat, but luckily for us Frisee and a few varieties of escarole do! We grow a greek heirloom of frisee called "rhodos", and in order to get the heats to self-blanche we grow them close together so that the heads stay tight, leaving the cores white and tender. Frisee hearts are quite bitter; the shared characteristic of this plant family is their strong bitter flavor, and pair well with flavor packed ingredients like bacon, truffles, and sharp cheeses. This tasty Italian pasta recipe
has the frisee wilted briefly in reserved bacon fat, and then topped with a fried egg.
Escarole heads and leaves are a close cousin to frisee that can be used in the same way, the main difference is that they arent as "frizzy". This cool article on thektchn.com
sings escaroles praises over lettuce and gives some cool flavor pairing ideas. They suggest pairing these more bitter tender leaves with fruits in some delicious combinations. If you arent so into the bitterness try wilting or lightly sauteeing them, it will reduce the sharpness quite dramatically. This Martha Stewart recipe
for Wilted Escarole and Apples looks fantastic, and super simple.