My Chef's Hat - Avocado, Pancetta & Pine Nut Salad

When I was in Flower Mound last month and we went to lunch, the pizza had really good pepperoni on it.  Then and there I decided, no more bagged Hormel stuff.  I mean sure, it's inexpensive and lasts a long time, but the "real" stuff is so much better.  Sadly, I'm not going to find the good stuff in Stillwater.  So about a week ago I went online looking for an Italian Deli in OKC.  And that's how I found Mediterranean Imports & Deli.  It's on May Avenue, not too far from Penn Square Mall.  

My original plan was to run in and  just grab some pepperoni.  Well, you don't "just run in" here.  They've got meats, cheeses, and dry products from around the world.  Plus a little restaurant.  Almost an hour later I walked out with some authentic Italian dry pasta, pepperoni, pancetta, and prosciutto. Oh, and a piece of freshly baked baklava that was outstanding. I wanted to get some cheese, but I wasn't going right home so I wasn't too sure about it sitting in the car for too long.  Next time. I used the pepperoni on my pizza for lunch, and it was outstanding.  So fresh and delicious, and tons more flavor than the store-bought stuff.

I've never cooked with pancetta before, and honestly I don't even know that I've eaten it more than once or twice.  But I love bacon, and pancetta is basically Italian bacon.  How can you go wrong with that?  I had taken out salmon for dinner, and originally planned to make a side of avocado corn salsa that I love.  Then I looked on Pinterest, just to see what pancetta recipes there are.  There's a ton of them.  One of the first I came across was Avocado, Pancetta & Pine Nut Salad. It looked delicious, so I decided to try it.

Here's the recipe version

And here is my version, with fresh corn and thinly sliced red onion added, and topped with blackened salmon

Wow, this was excellent. Pancetta is saltier than bacon, and the flavor is a little different, but I really like it. And one big plus is pancetta is much lower in fat.  When I cook 2 pieces of bacon there's probably a tablespoon of fat left; with 2 ounces of pancetta, there was less than a teaspoon.  I sauteed the fresh corn in a little of the fat from the pancetta, so it completely absorbed the flavor. The recipe calls for a dressing of oil mixed with balsamic vinegar.  I really don't need the oil at all.  Makes it a little too greasy.  But that was absolutely the only negative.  I devoured the entire bowl in record time.

This dish is definitely going into my regular rotation.  And I'm excited to try some more recipes with pancetta.