This stunner of a croque frisée recipe comes from Susan Stockton, senior vice president of culinary production at Food Network. What’s that? You say it’s no surprise it’s from a professional chef given how lovely it looks? Hang on a second. You may be surprised at just how easy this sorta elegance can be to pull off in your own kitchen—even without sous chefs.–Renee Schettler Rossi
LC Ham I Am Note
You know those irresistibly quirky quizzes going around that tell you what sort of [fill in the blank] you are, whether it’s which classic ’80s movie, which rock band, even which Game of Thrones character? Well, we wanna know what kind of ham you are. Seriously. If you were ham, what sorta ham would you be? Smithfield? Westphalian? Virginia? Prosciutto? Serrano? It merits some tableside thought…say, over brunch with this croque frisée recipe, which is an elegant riff of sorts on the classic French croque madame. Hey, by the way, there’s no right answer to the quiz, just like there’s no right ham to use for this recipe. Swap in any of those other sorts of ham for the Black Forest mentioned in the recipe below. No further thought required. Save that for more philosophical matters.
- Round cookie or biscuit cutter
- 1 loaf brioche cut into 6 slices (each at least 1 inch [25 mm] thick)
- 3 tablespoons grainy mustard such as Pommery mustard
- 12 thin slices Black Forest ham
- 3/4 cup grated Gruyère cheese
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
- 1 cup olive oil
- 2 shallots minced
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 6 large eggs
- 2 heads frisée torn into small pieces
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Bring a large saucepan of water to a gentle simmer. Heat the broiler.
- Using a round cookie or biscuit cutter, punch a round from each brioche slice. Discard the crusts or reserve them for making bread crumbs, bread pudding, stuffing, or anything else you please. Place the brioche rounds on a baking sheet and spread each round with 1/2 tablespoon grainy mustard and top with 2 slices ham and 2 tablespoons grated cheese. Broil the cheese-smothered brioche until the cheese bubbles and the brioche begins to brown. Remove from the oven and set aside until ready to assemble.
- Whisk together the Dijon mustard and Champagne vinegar in a small bowl. Slowly drizzle in the oil as you continue to constantly whisk until the mixture is emulsified. Stir in the shallots. Set aside to let the flavors meld.
- Add the white vinegar to the simmering water. Gently slide the eggs into the water and poach the eggs, working in batches if necessary, for 3 to 5 minutes, depending on desired doneness. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Using a slotted spoon, carefully remove the eggs from the pan of water and place them in the bowl of ice water. Keep the poaching water at a gentle simmer on the stove in case you need to reheat the eggs just before serving.
- Whisk the vinaigrette to recombine. Toss the frisée in a large bowl, drizzle with enough vinaigrette to taste, and gently toss.
- To serve the croque frisée, place a slice of toasted brioche on each plate. Divide the dressed frisée evenly among the brioche and nestle a warm egg on top of each tangle of frisée. (You may want to transfer the poached eggs to the reserved warm water for just a few seconds to reheat. Blot the egg on a paper towel to dry.) Season with salt and black pepper. Serve immediately.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
I found this croque frisée recipe to be an absolutely delicious, rich yet light option for lunch or brunch. The combination of flavors, textures, and temperatures tasted complex, but this could not have been easier. It took a while for my water to come to a boil in step 1, allowing more than enough time to prep all the ingredients, including the dressing. It took less than a minute for my cheese to bubble under the broiler, but the brioche never really toasted. Next time, I’ll lightly toast the brioche in advance, so that it’s a bit firmer. Finally, I recommend allowing your warmed poached eggs to drain quickly on a paper towel or lightly patting them dry after you remove them from the water. You don’t want water diluting that beautiful yolk!
This croque frisée recipe was a very delicious brunch item. I made my own brioche using the recipe from the site. The salad was really easy to assemble, and I liked its contrast of colors, textures, and flavors. The only thing I’d change would be the thickness of the bread. Six slices per loaf meant each slice was 1 3/4 inches thick, and I found them to be a little too thick. The edges of each slice turned crisp, but the middle couldn’t turn crisp without burning the edges. Next time I’ll use thinner slices for a more even crispiness. This croque frisée is definitely on the rotation for future brunch menus.
Originally published May 07, 2014