The Salad of My Dreams

It’s been a little while since I really loved a salad.  There is the one I call, the one that got away. 

The salad itself was simple.  Mixed greens, with feta, a balsamic style vinaigrette and most importantly Cajun jumbo shrimp.  Something about the combination was like crack to me.  The second the plate hit the table in front of me I would dive in and it would be gone before everyone else at the table had even picked up their forks.
This magic salad was found at a Toronto restaurant called Fire on the East Side.  I can still remember the day that I went in for dinner and the salad was no longer on the menu.  I begged and pleaded for them to make it for me just one more time, but to no avail.  The restaurant is still great even without the salad.
I thought I would never find a salad I liked as much, but then I was introduced to Nigella’s Warm Rocket Salad and my prayer’s were answered.
Like the shrimp salad of my past, this is also a warm salad.  She suggests making it right away in front of guests but when my friends Michael and Ryan made it for me they made the warm part ahead of time and simply reheated when it was time to serve.  Without further adieu here is the recipe, with thanks to boys for introducing me to it.
Nigella Lawson’s Warm Rocket Salad
Serves 4
2 medium red onions
8 slices of pancetta 
Olive Oil
4 sprigs thyme
4 big handfuls of rocket (arugula)
Balsamic Vinegar
A Piece of Parmesan for shaving
Peel, halve, and quarter the onions, then quarter again, to give you 8 pieces from each onion.  Heat a frying pan and fry off the rashers of pancetta until crisp (now Ryan cubed both the onion and the pancetta, which I really liked, I like small bites).  
Add a couple of lugs of olive oil to the pan, and add the sprigs of thyme, the onions and pine nuts with a pinch of salt.  Toss around and fry on a medium head for about 5 minutes until caramelized and sweet (not black!).
Then, Throw everything into a salad bowl with the 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 use a potato peeler to do this. 
Munch away.

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