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Dandelion Salad with Pancetta, Eggs, and Croutons

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Serves 4

  • by Gabrielle Hamilton from Fine Cooking
    Issue 110

Dandelion greens are a good substitute for puntarelle, which is widely available in Italy but extremely difficult to find in the United States.

  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 bunch dandelion greens (about 1/2 lb.)
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup stale crusty bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 4 oz. pancetta, thinly sliced into rounds, then thinly sliced into ribbons
  • 1/2 medium clove garlic
  • 1/2 anchovy fillet, drained if oil-packed, rinsed if salted
  • 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring a 1-quart pot of water to a boil over high heat. Gently add the eggs, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook for 8 minutes. Drain immediately and run under cold water until the eggs have cooled completely. Peel and set aside.

Meanwhile, trim the stems from the dandelion leaves and cut the leaves into bite-size pieces. Wash in cold water and spin dry.

In a heavy-duty 10-inch skillet, heat 1/2 cup of the oil over medium heat until shimmering hot. Add the bread and stir with a slotted spoon until the croutons are golden-brown and cooked through, about 2 minutes. Transfer the croutons to a plate lined with paper towels and set aside.

Add the pancetta to the pan and cook, stirring constantly, until crisp, about 2 minutes. If it sticks together while cooking, try to separate it with the spoon. Transfer the pancetta to the paper-towel-lined plate.

Smash the garlic to a paste with the side of a chef’s knife and transfer to a large salad bowl. With the back of a wooden spoon, mash the anchovy fillet with the garlic until thoroughly combined. Stir in the lemon juice. Slowly drizzle in the remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil, stirring constantly with the wooden spoon. Add the dandelion leaves to the bowl and toss well. Add the croutons and pancetta and toss again. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cut the eggs into wedges—either quarters or sixths—and arrange them on the salad. Serve.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 350; Fat (g): 30; Fat Calories (kcal): 260; Saturated Fat (g): 6; Protein (g): 11; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 18; Carbohydrates (g): 10; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3.5; Sodium (mg): 1010; Cholesterol (mg): 130; Fiber (g): 2;

Photo: Scott Phillips

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