Arugula with Pancetta, Grilled Asparagus, and White Beans

Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby

Serve this tasty dish for lunch, or as a first course for a meal that includes a light, grilled fish. You can substitute prosciutto, salami, or ham for the pancetta: toss it on the grill for just a minute before serving.

Ingredients: 
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons cracked black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh basil
  • 16 spears asparagus, bottom ¼ trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • 2 bunches arugula, trimmed, washed, and dried
  • 1 cup cooked cannellini beans (if canned, rinsed and drained)
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and diced
  • ¼ pound pancetta, thinly sliced and cooked at 350°F for 6 to 8 minutes, until crispy, and drained on paper towels
Instructions: 
  1. Heat the grill. Combine the olive oil, vinegar, cheese, garlic, and black pepper in a food processor or blender and puree to make a smooth dressing. Transfer to a bowl, stir in the basil, and set aside.
  2. Fill a large pot with ice and water. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the asparagus, and cook for about 3 minutes, until just tender. Drain and plunge the asparagus into the ice water to stop cooking; then drain again. Rub the asparagus with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, and grill over a medium-hot fire, turning frequently, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until well seared.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the arugula, beans, and onion. Stir the dressing well and pour just enough onto the arugula-bean mixture to moisten the ingredients. (You will probably have some dressing left over; cover it and refrigerate to keep it for up to a week.) Toss well, place the salad on a serving platter or individual plates, top with the pancetta and asparagus, and serve.

Recipe from License to Grill, by Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby, William Morrow and Co.

Nutritional Analysis: 
Calories: 250, Fat: 15g, Sodium: 160mg, Carbohydrate: 19g, Protein: 10g
Yield: 
4 Servings
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