Thursday, November 13, 2008

bocconcini toasts with balsamic salad

this dish is a really good play of sweet, spicy, and salty. it has all of the key components to a delicious meal. Don't be scared by the list of ingredients, the preparation is really fast!

the open-faced sandwiches are a nice blend of crisp and smooth, and were inspired by a recipe of donna hay's in her new food fast cookbook. they are actually pretty much the same as in her book....with only minor changes. i hope ms. hay doesn't mind. i've also made a salad to accompany these, its simple and also has the same crunchy and smooth elements as the sandwiches.

together they are the perfect compliment. the vinegary sweet dressing with a slight hint of spice and bite of garlic compliments the creamy cheese and subtle pancetta. all in all a delicious weeknight dinner.

12 thin slices of pancetta
12 small bocconcini (or 4 medium bocconcini cut into quarters)
4 slices of ciabatta
4 slices of parmagianno reggiano
olive oil
3 cups baby spinach
large handful of shredded or crumbled parmagianno reggiano
1 cup pecan halves
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons maple syrup
a few shakes of cayenne pepper
1 pint fresh mission figs, quartered
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin oil
1/2 teaspoon herbes de provence
1 garlic clove, minced

preheat oven to 350 degrees and place figs on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper and toss with your fingers. (i used my toaster oven to prepare the figs because it uses less energy and takes less time to heat up.) once the oven is heated, pop in the figs and cook for about 20 minutes until softened and heated through.

to make the dressing, mix the garlic, herbes de provence, and balsamic vinegar in a bowl, and then whisk while mixing in the 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil. once emulsified, set aside.

turn the broiler in the oven to high. place the toasts on a baking sheet and drizzle olive oil on the cut side. wrap each of the bocconcini balls with pancetta and then place on top of the bread. then top that with the slice of parmagianno reggiano. put these under the broiler for about 5 minutes. (if you are using the oven to cook the figs wait until they are cooked and then pop the toasts under the broiler in the main oven.)

in a small pan heat the butter and the maple syrup until it begins to bubble and then add in the cayenne and the pecans. toss until coated and the butter/syrup mixture drys out. turn off heat and set aside to cool slightly.

place cleaned spinach leaves in a bowl and add the shredded or crumbled parmagianno reggiano, the figs (which should be done by now) and the slightly cooled pecans. toss with dressing, and serve with the toasts. enjoy!

mmmm, this one is good. really simple, really good. the best kind of food, especially on a thursday night!


Live.Love.Eat said...

Wow. This looks awesome. At first I didn't know what boccocini was but it sounded familiar. I had to look it up. It's with an "N" right? bocconcini? the small mozzarella? Wow, I love those. And this sounds incredible. It looks like the perfect meal!!!!!!!

Courtney said...

lol, good call. man my spelling was WAY off on this one! :)