Caesar Salad with Pancetta

Ingredients

1 tablespoon extra-light olive oil
1/2 pound pancetta or slab bacon, with the rind removed, cut in 1/4-inch dice
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon anchovy paste
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons mustard (optional)
3/4 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 hearts of romaine (with the 2 outer layers removed), cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup croutons
4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

Serves 4-6

In a small nonstick pan, add the extra-light olive oil and the pancetta or diced bacon. Cook over medium heat until the bacon is nicely browned. With a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked bacon to a plate lined with a paper towel. Set aside.

Place the garlic and salt on a chopping board and mix together, using the flat side of a knife blade to mash the ingredients into a pulp. Add this mixture to a large salad bowl.

Add the anchovy paste, mayonnaise, white wine vinegar and pepper. For a more intense flavor, you can add the optional mustard at this point. Using a wire whisk, mix the ingredients well. Continue whisking vigorously and slowly add the extra-virgin olive oil in a thin stream. Continue whisking until all the ingredients are incorporated and the olive oil has emulsified into the salad dressing.

Add the romaine lettuce, croutons and browned bacon to the bowl and mix well to coat with the dressing. Serve the salad on individual plates and top with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.