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I like bitter lettuces—radicchio, endive, arugula—even dandelion, but balanced. So this salad has just a few leaves of the most pungent ones, with lots of oak leaf and arugula. I sweetly mellowed the mix with a roasted garlic/white balsamic vinaigrette, pancetta crisped in olive oil that you spoon over to wilt the lettuces a bit, and a perfect blue cheese.
Radicchio & Lettuces with Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette, Pancetta + Blue Cheese
- 1 head garlic, oven roasted with 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil until garlic is soft
- Extra virgin olive oil from roasting the garlic plus enough to make 4 Tbsp
- 2 Tbsp white balsamic vinegar, plus more to taste
- 1 tsp palm sugar
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste (about ½ tsp of each)
- 1 head oak leaf lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
- 3 young dandelion leaves, torn into small pieces
- 3 leaves endive, torn into bite-sized pieces
- ½ head of radicchio, torn into bite-sized pieces
- 4 handfuls (about two cups) of baby arugula
- 1 more drizzle of olive oil
- ½ cup finely diced pancetta OR prosciutto
- ½ cup mellow gorgonzola or blue cheese crumbles
- ROAST GARLIC: Preheat oven to 350. Slice the top of the garlic head off to expose the tops of the cloves. Place garlic in ovenable crock with 2 Tbsp EVOL. Roast until garlic is soft.
- MAKE VINAIGRETTE: In a small bowl add olive oil from roasting the garlic plus enough to make 4 Tbsp. Add vinegar, sugar, and two of the soft roasted garlic cloves. Mash and whisk into a smooth paste. Add salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more white balsamic if desired. Whisk well.
- MAKE SALAD: In a large bowl, combine all lettuces. Add a drizzle of olive oil to a sauté pan over medium heat along with the pancetta or prosciutto and two more of the soft roasted garlic cloves. Mash garlic into the meat and fry until meat is crispy on the edges. Turn out onto the salad to wilt lettuces a bit. Drizzle with some of the vinaigrette and toss to coat. Taste and add more vinaigrette as needed, plus more pepper to taste. Sprinkle with blue cheese crumbles. Serve immediately.
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