I really enjoy pork fillets in springtime. They’re a nice change to the heavy roasts and slow cooks of winter, and the perfect complement to this crispy pancetta salad. The hero of the salad aside from good quality pancetta is the dressing, which combines freshly grilled pears and walnuts. It’s so good that you could almost eat it on it’s own!
This dish is the perfect Sunday lunch, reinvigorated for warmer months, and the best part is that any pork leftovers will be just as delicious to eat cold the next day, sliced and thrown into a salad or as cold sandwich meat with your favourite accoutrements.
Ingredients for the salad:
- 1 purple cauliflower
- 1 bunch baby Dutch carrots
- 1 oak leaf lettuce
- 1 bunch asparagus
- 4 globe artichokes
- 5 slices mild pancetta ( 2 mm thick)
- 40 g walnut
- 1 bunch chive
- 1 packam pear
- 1 pork fillet ( about 400g)
- Set up a steamer on the stove and preheat the oven at 200 degrees Celsius.
- Cut the cauliflower into little florets, peel the carrots and asparagus, wash the lettuce and take the leaves, stems and the fluff of the artichoke until only the heart remain, place the artichokes in lemon water straight away to prevent them from going black.
- Steam the vegetable separately or in different basket if you have a multi level steamer. Cook them until just tender, a good way to check is to use a small knife if it goes in easily, it’s ready.
- Preheat a shallow frying pan with a bit of olive oil, cut the meat in equal pieces, season it with salt and pepper and seal the pork all around then put in the oven for about 10-12 minutes.
- Meanwhile, slice the pear (2-3 mm slices) and grill them on a grill pan for 1 minute on each side, then cut them into small dice and keep aside. Finely chop the chive, roughly crush the walnut and mix with the pears.
- Heat up a small frying pan on a high heat and cook the diced pancetta until crispy (no need to add any oil in the pan), transfer the pancetta in a bowl with some kitchen paper to soak up the excess fat, then mix with the rest of the dressing ingredients.
- Add white wine vinegar and olive oil to taste, season with salt and pepper. Mix the vegetables together and arrange them on serving board or a platter, place the pork pieces around the salad and drizzle the dressing over the top.
With this dish I recommend a Chateau “Ollieux Romanis” Blanc, available from www.airoldifinewines.com.au