20 Nov 2009

Piccolino Salad

This is a salad favourite which I re-created after dining at Est Piccolino, a Knutsford (Cheshire) restaurant, over 8 years ago. As I couldn’t remember the exact name of the dish, I named it after the restaurant where I had it that very first time, as a tribute.

The quality of the ingredients will influence the taste of the salad, therefore the best you can afford, the more rewarding it will be for the palate!

Serves 2 as a main course/ 4 as a side dish
Preparation: 10 mins
Cooking: 8 mins

  • 3 slices of French baguette, slightly stale
  • 100g of good quality organic pancetta, cubed, or 4 rashers of good quality organic streaky bacon
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely diced
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Half a ripe medium avocado
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 100g of mixed salad leaves (baby spinach, lettuce, rocket etc.), rinsed and drained
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Chopped chives to garnish (optional)
Toast the bread slices on a medium setting to obtain a golden colour and a crunchy finish. Then with a bread knife, cut the slices in small strips. Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the diced garlic cloves and then the strips of bread, coating them evenly in the oil and garlic mixture. Stir frequently for a good couple of minutes until the bread has turned into croûtons (but not burnt!). Set aside with the garlic mix.

Meanwhile using the same frying pan, quickly fry the pancetta (or bacon cut in strips) until cooked and slightly crunchy to the bite. Set aside.

Peel the avocado, cut it in half and remove the stone. Then cube the flesh and sprinkle it with the lemon juice in order to prevent oxidisation.

In a serving bowl, arrange the mixed salad leaves, add the avocado cubes and lemon juice, the cooled pancetta and cooled croûtons (with garlic). Drizzle with olive oil and season before carefully combining all the ingredients together. Finally sprinkle with chives.

Time to tuck in, safe in the knowledge that this colourful salad will help you replenish your vitamin levels, and brighten up an otherwise dull November day!

1 comment:

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