Pancetta Crisp Salad with Shiitake, Pear, and Brussels Sprouts

I love new salad creations – this one came about after reading an article about the different uses of pancetta. Pancetta tastes a lot like bacon when baked – it is just as salty but I think a bit richer. You can use any pear type for this recipe and the sweetness contrasts so well with the salty pancetta. I am not providing exact measurements for the main ingredients – judge based on how many salads you are making.

  • 2-3 slices pancetta per salad plate
  • Brussesls sprouts, trimmed and quartered lengthwise
  • Lettuce
  • Ripe pear, halved, cored, and thinly sliced
  • Shiitakes
  • Optional blue or goat cheese to top
  • Red wine vinegar, about 1/4 cup
  • Olive oil
  • S/P
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds. On a rimmed baking sheet, arrange pancetta in a single layer. Bake on lower rack until golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain; set aside. On another rimmed baking sheet, toss Brussels sprouts with a dash of olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Bake on upper rack until tender, 18 to 20 minutes, tossing once.
  2. Lightly dab your shiitakes with a wet paper-towel if needed to clean (don’t rinse like button mushrooms). Slice off the very bottom of the stem where it may be hard and slice mushrooms in half.
  3. While the pancetta and brussels sprouts bake, saute the shiitakes in a splash of olive oil until tender.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar and a good amount of olive oil; season with S/P to create a vinaigrette. Add your lettuce and toss to coat.
  5. Plate the lettuce and add all ingredients to top. If you like cheese, goat or blue cheese would be a great addition.
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