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Warm Green Bean, Pancetta & Tomato Salad with Parmesan

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Serves six to eight.

This salad tastes best if the green beans are freshly cooked and still warm when you toss them with the pancetta dressing.

  • 4 medium tomatoes (about 18 oz.), preferably ripe heirlooms or garden tomatoes
  • 5 Tbs. sherry vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. honey
  • 1/2 lb. thinly sliced pancetta
  • 5 to 7 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1-1/2 lb. green beans, ends trimmed (and cut in half if the beans are extremely long)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced chives
  • 4-oz. chunk Parmigiano-Reggiano, shaved with a vegetable peeler or cheese plane (to yield about 1 cup shavings)

Core the tomatoes, slice them in half horizontally, and flick out most of the seeds and juice with a fingertip. Then cut the tomatoes into 1-inch chunks and put them in a large serving bowl.

In a small bowl, combine the vinegar and honey.

In a 10- or 12-inch sauté  pan over medium heat, cook the pancetta in two or three batches until crisp and golden, 3 to 5  minutes per batch. Remove the pancetta from the pan, drain on paper towels, roughly chop, and keep warm (or set aside at room temperature if making ahead). Depending on the pancetta, there might be lots of fat in the pan or there might be none. Pour the fat into a dish, measure out 2 Tbs., and return it to the pan, discarding the rest. Add 5 Tbs. of the olive oil (or more to compensate if you didn’t get enough pancetta fat) for a total of 7 Tbs. fat in the pan. Set aside.

When you’re ready to serve, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Put the beans in the boiling water and cook until just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain the beans and spread on paper towels or a dishtowel to dry briefly. Put the warm beans in the bowl with the tomatoes and set it at the back of the stovetop to keep warm. Put the pancetta in a warm oven for a few minutes while you finish the dressing.

Return the pan with the reserved pancetta fat and oil to medium heat. When the fat is warm, whisk in the vinegar-honey mixture, turn the heat to high, and whisk until the mixture boils and emulsifies. Immediately pour the hot dressing over the vegetables in the bowl. Toss, season with salt and pepper, and add the chives. Sprinkle the chopped pancetta over the salad and scatter the cheese over the top; toss gently. Serve immediately.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on eight servings; Calories (kcal): 350; Fat (g): 29; Fat Calories (kcal): 260; Saturated Fat (g): 12; Protein (g): 9; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 14; Carbohydrates (g): 14; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3; Sodium (mg): 750; Cholesterol (mg): 30; Fiber (g): 4;

Photo: Scott Phillips

Excellent flavors. Next time (and there will be a next time) i might let the guests add the pancetta at the table instead of tossing it with the dressing to keep it super crispy.

Not a quick and easy dish to prepare, but the flavor combinations are amazing. It gets rave reviews from guests and,unfortunately, there are never any leftovers.

truly excellent it was the star of my neighbour's pig party last summer

Although there are a number of steps, it's worth the effort. I added a handful of fresh spinach before tossing in the warm dressing with amazing results. Splurge on the best ingredients you can find for this one. Absolutely a favorite.

This recipe is so wonderful. The heairloom tomatoes are very important. It's fine with conventional tomatoes, but the heirloom add so much more. Look for a really high quality, thinly sliced pancetta too. My whole family loved it-- even the 7 year olds!

The combination of flavors in this recipe is delicious. It was very easy to prepare and made a terrific side dish for the mustard crusted roast chicken. Since I made this dish for guests and didn't want the house smelling like bacon, I cooked the pancetta a few hours ahead and then re-heated it when I cooked the beans. I found it better to pass a bowl of grated cheese around to the guests to that they could top their salads with it. This way the precious cheese did not stick to the sides of the main salad bowl and get lost. Tom Douglas is a very creative chef.

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