The following recipe is from the September 16 edition of our weekly recipe newsletter. To receive this newsletter in your inbox, sign up here!
I have a problem with salad. This problem has nothing to do with a leftover childhood fear of vegetables—in fact, I loved vegetables as a little kid. My problem with salad is that I absolutely hate making them. I love the mindless chopping of vegetables and the preparation of a perfectly tart dressing, but washing and drying greens—do I really have to? (I'll admit that I have no idea why I have developed such an irrational scorn for preparing greens.)
That's why when it comes to me making a salad at home, it had better be a good one. This recipe for Dandelion Green Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing from Zingerman's Guide to Better Bacon by Ari Weinzweig is a good one, indeed. The combination of flavors is unbeatable: salty fatty pancetta, bitter vegetal dandelion greens, and a tang and astringency from the mustard and vinegar. The hot bacon dressing wilts the greens into a stage somewhere in between raw and cooked. This salad could easily be turned into a satisfying breakfast or lunch with the addition of poached eggs and a few slices of toast, or act as a handsome side dish at dinner. Think of it as an anti-salad, and don't worry too much about getting the greens perfectly dry.
Dandelion Green Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing
- 2 as a main course, or 4 as a side -
Adapted from Zingerman's Guide to Better Bacon by Ari Weinzweig.
- 8 ounces (about 4 slices) pancetta, diced
- 8 ounces fresh dandelion greens, stems removed
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- Coarse sea salt to taste
- Fresh ground Tellicherry black pepper to taste
Fry the pancetta over medium heat until crisp.
While the pancetta is cooking wash the greens, then spin or pat them very dry. Place them in a warm but not hot serving bowl.
When the pancetta is done, immediately pour it and all of its drippings straight from the skillet over the greens. If you need more fat, you can add a bit of olive oil. Toss immediately so that the fat wilts the greens a bit. Spoon the mustard over the greens, then sprinkle on the vinegar, then toss again. Add salt and pepper to taste, toss one more time, and serve right away.