Baby Dandelion Salad with Fresh Figs and Pancetta
"Dandelion & Quince"
"I can eat this salad by the mixing bowl. If you’d prefer to make it without pancetta, I recommend adding another crispy or crunchy food, because such textural contrast vastly improves a heap of raw greens and fresh fruit (think about roughly chopped toasted hazelnuts or torn pieces of bread that have been shallow fried in olive oil). Endive or lamb’s quarter would both work well here in place of the dandelion greens."—Michelle McKenzie
- 6 ounces pancetta, sliced 1/4-inch thick
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar, divided
- Fine sea salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 8 ounces baby dandelion greens
- 14 ripe figs, stemmed and cut in half
- Coarse sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 ounces Pecorino Romano
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Place the pancetta slices on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Roast for approximately 15 minutes, or until the pancetta is brown and crispy; remove from the oven and drain on paper towels. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the warm pancetta fat.
In a small bowl, whisk together 1/2 tablespoon of the sherry vinegar and a pinch of fine sea salt. Add the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the pancetta fat; whisk to combine. Place the dandelion greens in a medium mixing bowl and toss with half of the vinaigrette; add more, if needed, taking care not to overdress the leaves. Transfer the greens to a platter.
Gently toss the figs with the remaining sherry vinegar and pancetta fat, half a pinch of coarse sea salt, and some black pepper; scatter the figs across the greens, leaving any excess dressing behind. Top the salad with broken shards of the crispy pancetta and shavings of Pecorino Romano.
From Dandelion & Quince by Michelle McKenzie © 2016 by Michelle McKenzie. Photographs © 2016 by Rick Poon. Reprinted by arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications, Inc. Boulder, CO. www.roostbooks.com