Arugula with Pancetta, Grilled Asparagus, and White Beans
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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.