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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.

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Dandelion Green Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing

About This Recipe

Ingredients

  • 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

Procedures

  1. 1

    Fry the pancetta over medium heat until crisp.

  2. 2

    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.

  3. 3

    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.

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