Caesar Salad with Pancetta

  • For the salad
  • 350g pancetta, sliced 1cm thick
  • 2 punnets cherry tomatoes
  • Good olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large heads cos lettuce
  • 90g freshly grated Parmesan
  • For the dressing
  • 1 extra-large egg yolk at room temperature*
  • 2 tsps Dijon mustard
  • 2 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 8 to 10 anchovy fillets (optional)
  • 120ml freshly squeezed lemon juice (3 lemons)
  • 2 tsps salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 370ml good mild olive oil
  • 45g frehsly grated Parmesan cheese
For the salad:

1) Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6.

2) Cut the pancetta into 1cm cubes and cook it in a skillet over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until browned and crisp. Remove to paper towels and drain.

3) Place the tomatoes on a baking sheet and coat with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until soft.

4) Wash the lettuce leaves carefully and spin-dry in a salad spinner. Stack the leaves on a cutting board and cut them crosswise into 3cm slices. place them in a large mixing bowl.

5) Toss the lettuce with enough dressing to moisten well. Add 90g grated parmesan and toss. Divide the lettuce among 6 or 8 plates and sprinkle with the pancetta roasted tomatoes. Serve at room temperature.

For the dressing:

1) Place the egg yolks, mustard, garlic, anchovies, lemon juice, salt, and pepper into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process until smooth.

2) With the food processor running, slowly pour the olive oil through the feed tube (as though you were making mayonnaise), until thick. Add the grated Parmesan cheese and pulse 3 times.

*Raw egg warning.

Food Network Kitchens suggest caution in consuming raw and lightly-cooked eggs due to the slight risk of salmonella or other food-borne illness. to reduce this risk, we recommend you use only fresh, properly-refrigerated, clean, grade a or aa eggs with intact shells, and avoid contact between the yolks or whites and the shell.

All these ingredients can be made in advance. be sure they're room temperature when you assemble the salad.

If you're nervous about raw egg yolks, substitue 2 tablespoons of real mayonnaise.

Pancetta is Italian rasher bacon which you can find it in your Italian grocery or a specialty food store. Insist that it's 1cm thick.

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