ROCKET, CHILLI AND SMOKED PANCETTA SALAD WITH PARMESAN DRESSING C&C
THIS simple salad is one that I eat again and again; in fact, it has fuelled me on more days than I can remember as I’ve written this book. It’s full of bright, clear flavours, and is just so incredibly simple to make. I keep a jar of the Parmesan dressing in the fridge as it lasts well for a week or so, and then just make a serving for one when I have it for lunch. All up it takes me less than 10 minutes from thinking about it, to having it on my plate. Perfect!
5 – 6 large handfuls rocket leaves, stalks trimmed
1 – 2 small red chillies, finely chopped
16 finely-cut slices of smoked pancetta
Small chunk Parmesan, for shaving over the salad, optional Parmesan dressing:
½ cup (125 ml) extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
½ teaspoon sea salt
Swish the rocket leaves about in bowl or sink of cool water to give them a good wash. Drain them in a colander, giving it a good shake to remove as much water as possible, then plop the leaves into the middle of a clean, dry tea towel, and loosely and gently wrap them up. Turn the bundle over a couple of times so as much water as possible is absorbed by the tea towel, then gently shake the leaves into a large salad bowl. Sprinkle chilli over the top, then pop the bowl in the fridge.
Make the dressing by combining all the ingredients in a smallish bowl, and thoroughly whisking them together.
Lay the slices of pancetta in a large frying pan then sit the pan over medium heat. Frizzle the slices for a couple of minutes, turning them once or twice, until they’re golden and done to your liking. Drain them on paper towel (if you don’t have a large pan, cook the pancetta in batches.) To put the salad together, pour the dressing (you may not need all of it) over the rocket, and gently tumble the leaves in it with your hands (wearing prep gloves is a good idea). Scoop the rocket into a serving bowl, and dot it with the pancetta strips. Use a vegie peeler to shave strips of Parmesan over the salad, then serve it immediately with some good sturdy bread to sop up the very yummy juices.
■ From The Salad Book, by Belinda Jeffery