|Watermelon Arugula Salad with Pancetta in the foreground. We served it with grilled chicken and a Quinoa Salad with Tomatoes and Avocados.|
We've been eating pretty well around here since grilling season started. I've been trying some new recipes that sounded delicious to me, and changing them up a bit, just to put my own spin on them, and I've found some winners that I'd like to share with you: couple of side dishes, and a glorious rub that is a KEEPER.
And, to make things extra nice, my friend Denny Jiosa, musician extraordinaire, and my special local wine guru, will be sharing some information on some lovely bottles of wine that will make your next cookout extra special!
Should be lots of fun and some great recipes, too, so let's get started!
Today's recipe I stumbled across one afternoon while watching the Barefoot Contessa. A watermelon salad with greens, it seemed like the perfect recipe to accompany something on the grill: so easy and delicious that it sounded like a must-try! And then, I remembered I had some leftover Spicy Honey Mustard-Glazed Pancetta in my refrigerator.
Just the usual type leftover one has in one's fridge, right? (Kidding!) I had tried this Giada De Laurentiis recipe a day or two earlier, but it wasn't quite as perfect as I'd hoped it would be, just because it was too salty thick and chewy for my family. But, I thought to myself, "Salty, crunchy, spicy.. .could be kinda treated like crumbled bacon! What a great foil that would be for the sweet refreshing coolness of the watermelon!
So...I guess...to be fair...I'd better give you both recipes. Here are my thoughts, even though I haven't tried it this way. Since this is Grill Week, and I'm talking about dishes specifically for a cookout, I really think you COULD (although I haven't done) do the pancetta on the grill. I hope someone tries it and gets back with me. Simply crisp up the pancetta on the grill, quickly brush with the glaze, and give it a quick finish on the grill. The slices of pancetta that I used in these pictures, I had already prepared in the oven, according to Giada's recipe, and they were leftover, so I just chopped them up and threw them on the salad. So, you could do it either way, I think.
One more note about Giada's recipe: It called for the pancetta to be sliced 1/8 to 1/4" thick. I asked the deli to slice mine 1/4" thick. Next time I do this recipe, I'm going to have them cut it thinner. The saltiness was too intense, and the meat got too chewy. I think I'd rather have thin and crisp on these than thick and chewy, because thick and chewy became more like jerky. And, the recipe that I'm going to give you for this is half her original recipe in quantity, because in this salad, the pancetta is more of a condiment than a key dish component.
Here's my adaptation of Giada's recipe for:
Spicy Honey Mustard-Glazed Pancetta
1/2 lb. pancetta, sliced 1/8" thick
3 T. honey
1 T. Dijon mustard
1/8 t. cayenne pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 450º. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. (Alternatively, you can do this on the grill.)
Arrange the pancetta in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake/grill until crisp, 16 to 18 minutes in the oven. Remove the pancetta from the oven and heat the broiler. (Or remove from grill)
In a small bowl, mix together the honey, mustard and cayenne pepper until smooth. Brush the pancetta with the honey mixture, and then broil until browned, 2 - 4 minutes. (For the grill directions? You're on your own, since I haven't done it, but I would guess it would be easy to judge from appearance.)
So...this is the good stuff that was leftover in my fridge that I put on the Barefoot Contessa's salad. Oh, my, was it all divine together!
|Cutting up the Spicy Honey Mustard Glazed Pancetta. I treated it in this salad like it was a bacon condiment. But what a bacon it was!!! Mmmmm....|
The Barefoot Contessa's original recipe called for 1/2 lb. of arugula, but all I had was a baby spinach arugula blend. It was perfect, and I'd do that all over again, so that's what I'm going to put in my adaptation. The arugula adds a nice bitterness against the watermelon, but I'm sure you could substitute another nice blend of salad greens, if you have one you prefer, or if you don't care for arugula.
Here's my adaptation of the Barefoot Contessa's recipe for Watermelon and Arugula Salad (that I dolled up with my pancetta):
Watermelon, Arugula and Pancetta Salad
1/2 lb. baby arugula and baby spinach blend of salad greens
2 lbs. of seedless watermelon, cut into bite-sized chunks
1/3 c. olive oil
1/4 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 t. sea salt
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 lb. chunk Parmesan cheese, off of which you are going to shave long strips of Parmesan, with a vegetable peeler
Spicy Honey Mustard-Glazed Pancetta Slices, cut up into bite-sized pieces
Place the arugula and watermelon in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Pour enough dressing on the salad to moisten. Toss well and divide onto salad plates.
With a sharp knife or a vegetable peeler, shave the Parmesan into large strips, and sprinkle them, and the pancetta bits on top of the arugula and watermelon.
|I'm hungry now, all over again.|
I think this would be a good one to pin on Pinterest, don't you?