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Roasted Black Pepper Caesar Salad with Pancetta

Roasted Black Pepper Caesar Salad with Pancetta:

For The Croutons:

3 cups 3/4" cubed French bread, fresh or day old

3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. regular black pepper

For the Salad:

1/2 rounded tsp. black peppercorns

4 oz. diced pancetta

2 tbsp. + 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided

3 anchovy fillets (mashed) or 1 1/2 tsp. anchovy paste

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/2 tsp. grated garlic

1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice

2 tbsp. finely grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup shaved Parmesan cheese

1 head of romaine, washed, dried and cut into bite size pieces

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

For the croutons: Place bread in a mixing bowl. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with garlic powder, salt, and regular black pepper. Toss bread with hands to coat with oil and seasoning. Place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until bread is toasted and golden brown.

Preheat a small skillet on medium high. Add peppercorns. Shake skillet every 30 seconds until peppercorns begin to pop. Remove from heat. Place peppercorns in a mortar and pestle. Crack peppercorns, leaving some coarse pieces. Alternatively, place peppercorns in a plastic bag and use a rolling pins to crack peppercorns.

Using the same skillet on medium high heat, add 1 teaspoon olive oil. Add pancetta. Cook until crispy. Remove pancetta and place on paper towels to drain off fat.

Combine anchovies, mayonnaise, grated garlic, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, 2 tablespoons olive oil, black pepper, and grated Parmesan cheese in a bowl. Whisk until creamy. Place romaine in a large mixing bowl. Add 2/3 of the dressing. Toss to coat. Add croutons, pancetta, and shaved Parmesan cheese. Add more dressing if desired to suit your taste. Toss to incorporate. Makes 4 to 6 servings.