It is a rare occurrence when you put a fork full of food into your mouth, take those first few chomps and realize you are experiencing nothing short of perfection. The texture of everything combined is simply sublime. The tastes euphoric. This was my first impression, when on a deck in the middle of a vineyard in Sicily, I first tasted this salad.
The tomatoes for this salad were picked a scant few minutes before the Chef sliced them. The pancetta was freshly smoked at the vineyard, the olive oil pressed a few days before and the balsamic vinegar was aged in oak to perfection. True, you might not be able to prepare this salad at home with such fresh ingredients, but you can still enjoy the sensations it will stir within your mouth.
Serve this salad with a robust red wine and some freshly baked Italian hard-crusted bread and you have a dining experience you will not find outside one of the most elegant and precious places on this planet... Sicily!
Ingredients needed to make Sicilian Summer Salad (serves 2 romantically):
- 2 large tomatoes, thinly sliced
- 2 large shallots, thinly sliced
- 2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 oz. pancetta, thinly sliced
- shaved Parmesan cheese
- Place the tomatoes and shallots into a medium non-aluminum bowl.
- In a small bowl whisk together the vinegar and olive oil.
- Pour the dressing over the tomato/shallots, toss to coat and let sit 30 minutes.
- In a small saute pan or skillet over medium heat, cook the pancetta just until it starts to get some color (it is smoked already so don't worry about doneness).
- Place the tomato/shallots onto serving plates and top with the pancetta and shaved Parmesan cheese.
The new cookbook from Chef Larry Edwards is now available from Amazon.com and bookstores worldwide. One of the most anticipated cookbooks of the year, "Edwardian Cooking: Inspired by Downton Abbey's Elegant Meals."