This fresh and crunchy salad, from New Orleans-based cookbook author and food blogger Joy Wilson, is a delicious way to kick off any fall meal. If you can’t find pancetta, chopped bacon makes a fine substitute. The dressing comes together quickly in a small jar with a lid, or can be whisked together in a large bowl. This salad can be made in advance. Cook the pancetta and mix the salad dressing up to three days ahead. Be sure to refrigerate. One day before your event, slice the apple and celery. Place these in a bowl filled with lemon water and refrigerate. Before you're ready to serve the salad, reheat the pancetta.
1 head romaine lettuce, stripped of tough outside leaves, roughly chopped (6 cups)
4 ounces cubed pancetta, browned, plus 1⁄2 Tbsp. reserved drippings
2 ounces blue cheese, crumbled (about 1⁄2 cup)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, divided
1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt, divided
3 tablespoons olive oil
How to Make It
Combine lettuce, celery, and apple in a large bowl. Reserve 3 tablespoons each of pancetta and blue cheese. Add remaining pancetta and blue cheese to lettuce mixture.
Combine fresh lemon juice, red onion, mustard, reserved pancetta drippings, 1⁄2 teaspoon of the pepper, and 1⁄4 teaspoon of the salt in a small jar with a lid. Place lid on jar, and shake well to combine, about 30 seconds.
Add olive oil to jar. Place lid on jar, and shake until emulsified. Pour dressing over salad, and toss to combine. Sprinkle salad with reserved pancetta and blue cheese and remaining 1⁄4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Serve immediately.