Now this is a salad made for summer! It has fresh garden green beans, ripe tomatoes, Parmesan, and pancetta.
It's sort of a stepped up version of a salad with a warm bacon dressing, but instead of the bacon, we are using the more delicately flavored pancetta, thinly sliced, and crisped on the stove-top.
You can substitute bacon for the pancetta, but if pancetta is available, I recommend using it. It has a beautiful flavor that works well with the beans, tomatoes, and Parmesan.
The dressing is lightly sweet and sour. To make it, you whisk honey together with sherry vinegar, then simmer that with the leftover pancetta drippings. Pour the dressing over the green beans and tomatoes.
Add the shaved Parmesan and chopped cooked pancetta and you are ready to serve.
Warm Green Bean and Pancetta Salad
- 2 medium sized ripe tomatoes, cored and chopped into 1/2-inch to 1-inch pieces
- 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar (a mild, flavorful wine vinegar)
- 2 teaspoon honey
- 1/4 pound thinly sliced pancetta
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3/4 pound of fresh green beans, ends trimmed, strings removed (if any), halved if very long
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 cup (about 2 ounces) Parmesan cheese (Parmigiano Reggiano) shavings
Boil salted water:
Heat salted water in a medium saucepan for the beans. Use about a tablespoon of salt for every 4 cups of water. While the water is coming to a boil, start on the next two steps.
In a small bowl, mix the honey and sherry vinegar:
Cook the pancetta:
Heat a large sauté pan to medium heat. Cook the strips of pancetta in batches until golden and crisp. Let drain on a paper towel set over a plate to absorb the excess fat.
Discard all but 1 tablespoon of the fat remaining in the pan (don't put down the drain or you'll clog your drain when the fat cools). Add 3 tablepsoons of olive oil to the pan, set aside.
Chop the pancetta.
Cook green beans in the salted water:
Once the water is boiling, add the beans. Return to boiling, and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain the beans and place them into a large serving bowl. Add the tomatoes.
Make the dressing:
Over medium heat, heat the oil in the skillet that was used to cook the pancetta. Whisk in the vinegar honey mixture. Turn the heat up and continue to whisk as the mixture boils and blends.
Assemble the salad:
Pour the hot dressing onto the beans and tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the chopped pancetta and Parmesan and toss. Serve warm.