Pancetta, Tomato and Romaine salad with Fresh Mint, Scallions and Toasted Breadcrumbs, Tossed with Lemon and Maple Vinaigrette
(Makes 4 servings)
- 1 4 oz package diced pancetta
- 4 slices rustic bread cut into quarters
- Three romaine hearts
- 1 bunch scallions, sliced, light green and white parts only
- 1 cup grape and/or cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- 1/4 cup fresh torn mint
- 1/4 cup shaved Parmesan (plus more for garnishing)
- (Optional) 1 tsp red or green jalapeño pepper, seeded and then finely diced
- 1 large lemon, juiced
- 1/4 tsp dried mint
- 1/4 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Whisk together the first five ingredients. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until the mixture becomes silky.
- Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Place the bread pieces in a food processor. Pulse until you achieve nice, rustic breadcrumbs.
- In a bowl, toss the crumbs with the melted pancetta fat and spread out on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Bake for approximately 8 to 10 minutes until the crumbs are golden brown.
- Set aside
Salad Method & Assembly
- Drizzle a stove top pan lightly with a bit of olive oil, heat on medium heat. Add the pancetta to the pan, cover and cook for approximately 10 to 12 minutes, until the pancetta is cooked through and crisp up. Give it an occasional stir to prevent sticking.
- Using a slotted spoon, remove the pancetta from the pan and place on a paper towel topped plate.
- Once drained, set aside.
- (Reserve 1 tsp of the fat from the pan for the breadcrumbs.)
- Chop or tear the romaine leaves into bite-sized pieces and arrange in a shallow serving bowl. Layer in, sections of: scallions, halved tomatoes, mint leaves, shaved Parmesan and jalapeños (if desired).
- Put the pancetta bits, and breadcrumbs in separate bowls.
- Cover and chill the salad until ready to serve.
- Toss the salad table side, adding the pancetta and half of the vinaigrette. Sprinkle the top with the breadcrumbs. Toss lightly. Serve with remaining vinaigrette on the side.
- The salad can also be prepared as a Romaine wedge, or a romaine wrap to-go!