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Robert St. John

Restaurateur, author, enthusiastic traveler, & world-class eater.

Arugula and Warm Porcini Salad


1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 tsp Kosher salt

1/2 tsp Black pepper, freshly ground

1/2 pound Pancetta (or slab bacon), cut into 1/2 inch cubes

1 Tbl Dijon mustard

1/4 cup Sherry vinegar

1 Tbl Shallot, minced

1/2 tsp Garlic, minced

1/2 tsp Fresh Thyme, chopped

8 cups Arugula, cleaned and dried completely

6 ounces Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled


Place the porcini mushrooms in a mixing bowl and toss them with 1/4 cup of the olive oil, half of the salt, and half of the pepper. Lay them out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast the mushrooms for 6-8 minutes. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool until you are able to handle them. Rough cut the mushrooms into thick slices and place them in a large mixing bowl. Hold the mushrooms in a warm place while you prepare the remaining ingredients.

Place 1 Tbl of extra virgin olive oil in a medium sized sauté pan over low-medium heat. Place the cubed pancetta in the heated oil and cook until the bacon becomes brown and crispy. Stir the pancetta often to make sure all sides become brown. Remove the pancetta from the fat using a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to drain. Save three tablespoons of the grease and keep it warm.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the mustard, remaining salt and pepper and vinegar. Whisking constantly, drizzle in the remaining extra virgin olive oil and the reserved pancetta grease.

Toss the warm mushrooms with three quarters of the dressing. Add the arugula and half of the bacon and toss so that the lettuce is well coated.

Divide the salad onto 6-8 serving dishes. Toss the crumbled gorgonzola with the remaining dressing. Sprinkle the cheese and remaining pancetta over the tops of each salad and serve immediately.

Yield:  6-8 servings

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