Friday, July 20, 2012

Salad with pancetta was a great way
to use our garden-fresh parsley

In our outdoor herb garden this year, my husband and I planted two flat-leaf parsley plants.
   They shot up quickly, so I hit the Internet to find some recipes that would use a lot of parsley.
   On the Saveur magazine website, I found a recipe for Parsley and Pancetta Salad (click for the recipe) and pounced on it. It calls for six cups of loosely-packed flat-leaf parsley leaves, which are the only greens in the salad.
   It was a great way to use our herb garden parsley. The lemon and parmesan mixed with it creates a terrific side for grilled steak or chicken.
   The fresher the parsley used, the crunchier and better the salad will be. Since I made the salad using the freshest parsley available, with leaves right off a plant, it was ideal.
   I made a few modifications to the recipe, however.
   The recipe says to place parsley leaves on plates and top with lemon segments, thinly-shaved Parmesan cheese and red onion. The fried pancetta follows.
   Instead, I put the parsley leaves in a bowl, squeezed in the juice from one large lemon, then added the grated Parmesan. I tossed it all together in the bowl.
   I skipped the raw red onion completely.
   To serve, we put a helping of greens on our plates, then topped them with pieces of fried pancetta and its rendered fat as the recipe directs.
   Pancetta, Italian bacon that is salt-cured pork belly, can sometimes be purchased already cut into cubes, which the recipe calls for. If you can’t find it that way, I suggest buying a large piece of pancetta at the deli counter, then cutting it up into cubes yourself, rather than attempting to cut thin pancetta slices into cubes. The pieces would burn very quickly when cooked!

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