Caesar Salad with Pancetta

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 35 min
  • Prep: 15 min
  • Cook: 20 min
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings
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Ingredients

3/4 pound pancetta, sliced 1/2-inch thick

2 pints cherry tomatoes

Good olive oil

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 large heads romaine lettuce

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan

For the dressing:

1 extra-large egg yolk at room temperature*

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

2 large cloves garlic, chopped

8 to 10 anchovy fillets (optional)

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (3 lemons)

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 cups good mild olive oil

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Cut the pancetta into 1/2-inch cubes and cook it in a skillet over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until browned and crisp. Remove to paper towels and drain.
  3. Place the tomatoes on a baking sheet and coat with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until soft.
  4. Wash the lettuce leaves carefully and spin-dry in a salad spinner. Stack the leaves on a cutting board and cut them crosswise into 1 1/2-inch slices. Place them in a large mixing bowl.
  5. For the dressing, place the egg yolks, mustard, garlic, anchovies, lemon juice, salt, and pepper into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process until smooth. With the food processor running, slowly pour the olive oil through the feed tube (as though you were making mayonnaise), until thick. Add the grated Parmesan cheese and pulse 3 times.
  6. Toss the lettuce with enough dressing to moisten well. Add 1 cup grated Parmesan and toss. Divide the lettuce among 6 or 8 plates and sprinkle with the pancetta roasted tomatoes. Serve at room temperature.
  7. *RAW EGG WARNING
  8. Food Network Kitchens suggest caution in consuming raw and lightly-cooked eggs due to the slight risk of Salmonella or other food-borne illness. To reduce this risk, we recommend you use only fresh, properly-refrigerated, clean, grade A or AA eggs with intact shells, and avoid contact between the yolks or whites and the shell.
  9. All these ingredients can be made in advance. Be sure they're room temperature when you assemble the salad.
  10. If you're nervous about raw egg yolks, substitue 2 tablespoons of real mayonnaise.
  11. Pancetta is Italian bacon. You can find it in your Italian grocery or a specialty food store. Insist that it's vut 1/2-inch thick.
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