spinach salad with warm pancetta dressing

by Patricia on February 18, 2009 · 1 comment

My stomach finally reached its capacity for cake consumption last night (it also helped that I ran out of birthday cake). And so, in an effort to bring some balance back to my diet, I decided to eat a little lighter today.

D. and I had intended on trying to recreate the warm garlic and pancetta dressing we had the other day on Valentine’s Day but in the end had a quiet no-cooking V-day instead. So I had some pancetta and spinach in need of use in my fridge. Yay, bacon!

dinner: warm garlic and pancetta dressing over baby spinach

That was my dinner tonight. Baby spinach with a warm vinagrette with pancetta and garlic, tomato slices and an egg just for a little protein. I wasn’t completely sure about making the vinagrette since I’ve only made my own salad dressings from scratch a couple of times. But I have watched Barefoot Contessa and Alton Brown and numerous other TV chefs make vinagrettes many many times so I figured I didn’t need a recipe. I was pleasantly surprised that my brazen experiment turned out pretty well. It was not completely the same as what we had at the restaurant, but it was close enough that I think I can figure it out in another try or 2. And even if I don’t, this was good enough as is.

Warm pancetta and garlic dressing
1/8 lb. pancetta, diced
1 large clove of garlic, minced
1 tsp. dijon mustard
about 2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
about 1/4 cup (maybe less) of extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

1. In a small pan, cook pancetta until it starts to brown. Add garlic and cook another 1-2 minutes, just to cook the garlic but don’t brown it.
2. In a bowl, whisk mustard and vinegar together. Slowly add olive oil, but don’t stop whisking! We’re creating an emulsion (I have Alton Brown‘s voice in my head as I say that).
3. Combine the pancetta-garlic with the vinagrette in the bowl.
4. Toss you spinach in the vinagrette or drizzle over the top (like I did), whichever you prefer. Serve with sliced tomato.
This makes enough dressing for 2 medium-sized salads. (It was only me for dinner tonight, so after I finished my salad, I picked the rest of the pancetta out of the leftover dressing… I mean, I just stood there in the kitchen eating the vinagrette-drenched bacony morsels. Is that bad?)

{ 1 comment }

1 Joie de vivre February 19, 2009 at 4:45 pm

This picture is so lovely and colorful! I posted the “how-to make your sourdough” just for you! One of my readers passed me a link to a group dedicated to keeping a strain of sourdough going that can be traced back to the Oregon Trail. It’s free if you live in the US. I sent away for it yesterday out of curiosity. Here is the link if you’re interested. http://home.att.net/~carlsfriends/

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