BLT Bread Salad
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 6 ounces thinly sliced pancetta
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 loaf crusty Italian bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 5 cups)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 pounds mixed heirloom tomatoes, cut into 1 1/4-inch chunks
- 3 cups baby arugula
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 ounces ricotta salata cheese, shaved
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Soak the onion in a bowl of cold water while you prepare the salad.
Working in batches, cook the pancetta in a single layer in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to paper towels to drain; reserve the drippings.
Combine 1 tablespoon each olive oil and pancetta drippings in a small bowl. Toss with the bread cubes on a baking sheet and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper; spread in an even layer. Bake, stirring once, until lightly toasted, about 15 minutes.
Drain the onion and chop all but 6 slices pancetta. Add to a large bowl with the tomatoes, arugula, basil, olives, bread, vinegar and the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil. Toss and season with salt and pepper.
Divide the salad among bowls. Top each with some ricotta salata and a piece of reserved pancetta.
Photograph by Jonathan Kantor
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