- Servings: 4.
Winter salads can be a pale disappointment compared with our summer ones. There isn't a decent tomato in sight and romaine rules the lettuce bins.
But with a few strategic ingredients, winter salad can be a flavorful pleasure as in this recipe that uses the bread-based approach of a traditional Italian panzanella, a salad that uses stale bread with juicy in-season tomatoes.
This recipe skips the tomatoes entirely and replaces their bright flavor with a mustard vinaigrette and crispy bits of pancetta, an uncured Italian bacon. If you must have tomatoes, used sun dried ones that have been stored in oil, draining all the oil before adding the tomatoes to the salad.
- 3 cups 1-inch cubes of day-old or stale bread
- 3 slices of pancetta or uncured bacon
- 8 cups of mixed salad greens torn into pieces; use a mixture of romaine, frisee, radicchio, and baby arugula
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil plus extra for the croutons
- Optional: 3 tablespoons toasted pinenuts and 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes, cut in half and drained of all oil
- Pre-heat the oven to 400° F.
- Using a rimmed sheet pan, spread the cubes of bread in a single layer and add a light drizzle of olive oil (about 2 tablespoons).
- Toast for about 10 minutes until the bread is just toasted. Remove from the oven and let cool.
- While the croutons are toasting, saute the slices of pancetta in a skillet until crispy. Transfer to a paper towel to drain. When cooled, crumble into large bits and hold aside.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine the vinegar, salt, mustard and several grinds of black pepper. Use a fork to whisk until the mustard and salt have dissolved. Add the olive oil and continue whisking until emulsified.
- Place the washed salad greens in a salad bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad greens and toss to coat.
- Sprinkle the cooked pancetta pieces and toasted croutons over the salad greens and toss again to combine. If you're including toasted nuts and sun dried tomatoes, add them now and toss with the croutons and bits of pancetta.
- Serve immediately.