WINTER VEGETABLE SALAD WITH PANCETTA
Don't ask me why, but steak lovers crave bacon. In steak houses they have it wrapped around filet mignon, wrapped around scallops,
on top of hamburgers, and scattered over spinach in a salad. Here's a salad garnished with bacon, or, in this case, an easy-to-crisp Italian
bacon called pancetta. It's an ideal first course to serve at home before a festive steak entrée because it needs only last-minute tossing.
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2 medium beets
8 ounces Jerusalem artichokes, celery root, or potatoes (see Note)
1/4 cup finely chopped pancetta or mildly smoked bacon
1 medium napa cabbage
1/4 cup coarsely chopped scallions, white and 2 inches of green
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
4 tablespoons olive oil, preferably extra virgin
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
||Preheat the oven to 400°F.|
||Cut the stems and leafy green tops from the beets but do not peel them.
Wrap each beet in aluminum foil and bake until tender when pierced with a paring knife, about 50 minutes.
Remove the beets from the oven and unwrap them. When the beets are cool, peel and cut them into 1/2-inch cubes. Set aside.|
||Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the Jerusalem artichokes and
cook at a boil, partially covered, until crisp-tender, about 15 minutes. Drain. When cool, peel and cut them into 1/2-inch cubes. Reserve.|
||While the vegetables are cooking, fry the chopped pancetta in a small skillet over medium-low heat,
stirring often, until crisp, 7 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel to drain. Set aside the drippings. You should have about 2 tablespoons.|
||Slice off 1 1/2 inches of the cabbage stem and remove the outer leaves. Cut the remaining cabbage crosswise into 1/2-inch
sections and break them apart with your hands.|
||When ready to serve, combine the beets, Jerusalem artichokes, cabbage, and scallions in a salad bowl.
In a small saucepan, combine the mustard, reserved pancetta drippings, the olive oil, lemon juice, and vinegar.
Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Pour the sauce over the salad and toss thoroughly so the
red of the beet colors the other ingredients. Season with salt and pepper as desired, remembering the pancetta is salty.
Divide the salad among 4 plates. Scatter pancetta over each and serve.
|Note: If using celery root or potatoes, peel and cut them into 1/2-inch cubes.
Boil until they are tender, about 10 minutes. Plunge into cold water to stop the cooking, drain, and set aside.|