Monday, November 14, 2011

Shannon's Thanksgiving Salad

I got an email from a friend yesterday asking what I was cooking for Thankgsiving next week. The next week part nearly gave me a heart attack. I quickly flipped to my calendar and sure enough, we are 10 days out from my favorite holiday. The holiday I love to cook for and for which I reluctantly give up hosting duties. I love that it is just about food and family and not presents and me me me. The latter is Christmas' job.

But OMG November has slipped through my fingertips and here I am 10 days out and I haven't even ordered my turkey!! I am going to race to my community store today to see if I can order my usual bird and seriously if I am too late you are going to find me face down in the parking lot crying. I've been ordering my fresh thanksgiving turkey from the same people for nearly 10 years and I just can't do a T-day dinner with out it!

In an effort to light a fire under my ass, I will share with you some of my favorite dishes from the past that I am likely to do again. First up is a salad I served one year in an effort to cover my ass timing-wise when some other stuff in kitchen wasn't cooperating. And it was so freaking good that it became a staple at our holiday table. It involves pancetta, a hail mary ingredient when you are trying to save your ass at a dining table.

It became known as Shannon's Thanksgiving Salad. I know, a creative and original name. Don't get too jealous of my recipe-naming-ingenuity. If you feel the need to rename it for me, leave a comment. Coolest name wins. (con't for recipe)

Shannon's Thanksgiving Salad
  • Baby Romaine lettuce
  • Stilton Cheese, Crumbled
  • Hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • 2 Red Pears, cored and thinly sliced - skin on
  • butter
  • drizzle of Balsamic
  • 1/2 lb pancetta, diced
  • Fresh raspberries or any berry that is in season.
  • Hot Bacon Dressing- see recipe below
  1. Prepare the Hot Bacon dressing with the diced pancetta. You won’t need more pancetta for the salad- just what you use to prepare the dressing.
  2. Saute Pancetta until crisp. Set aside and follow remaining directions for dressing just before you are serving the salad. I also add a spoon full of whole grain mustard to my dressing.
  3. In a saute pan, melt 1/4 stick of butter and saute pears with 1 tsp or a drizzle balsamic. Depending on how ripe your pears - you’ll want to saute them until they are a bit soft but still crisp.
  4. Plate a large handful of baby romaine lettuce on each plate. Fan 5 slices of pear across top. Add small handful of crumbled stilton. Add some nuts, pancetta bits, and 3 raspberries.  
  5. Top with a spoonful of Hot Bacon Dressing.
Hot Bacon Pancetta Dressing
  • 1/2 pound bacon Pancetta
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • Spoonful grainy dijon mustard
  1. In a large skillet cook bacon over moderate heat until crisp and with tongs transfer to paper towels to drain. 
  2. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons fat from skillet. 
  3. Add water and vinegar and simmer, whisking constantly, 1 minute. 
  4. Crumble bacon and add to dressing with salt and pepper to taste just before using.

This dressing recipe is slightly adapted from:

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