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Scrummy warm rocket salad
With gorgeously crispy, smoky pancetta and pine nuts
“A delicious warm salad like this with sweet red onion wedges can be a real treat any time of year ”
8 rashers higher-welfare pancetta or smoked streaky bacon
2 lugs olive oil
4 sprigs thyme
1 good handful pine nuts
1 tiny pinch salt
4 big handfuls rocket
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Warm salads can be blooming amazing or a complete disaster. First, you have got to get your hungry guests around the table before you plate up, so as soon as their bums are on the chairs, you are tossing the warm ingredients in with the rocket leaves. Boom, boom, boom on a plate and it's in front of them.
Peel, halve and quarter 2 medium red onions, then quarter again, to give you 8 pieces from each onion. Heat a frying pan and fry off 8 whole rashers of pancetta or smoked streaky bacon until crisp. Remove, add a couple of lugs of olive oil to the pan, and add 4 sprigs of thyme, the onions and a good handful of pine nuts with a tiny pinch of salt. Toss around and fry on a medium heat for about 5 minutes until caramelized and sweet (not black!).
Put your pancetta or bacon back into the pan, toss around, then throw everything into a salad bowl with 4 big handfuls of rocket or any nice salad leaves. Drizzle generously with balsamic vinegar – this will make a natural dressing as it mixes with the olive oil. Serve with some shaved Parmesan over the top – you can use a potato peeler to do this. Munch away.