Recipe: Make Cesare Casella's Insalata di Uova e Carne Secca del Pontormo
Cesare Casella of Salumeria Rosi Parmacotto shares his recipe for Insalata di Uova e Carne Secca del Pontormo, a signature dish at the salumeria/restaurant that has been a diners' favorite since its opening.
"This salad is popular because it's simple, but has so much flavor," says Casella. "All the flavors together are interesting."
So, how did he come up with it?
"I was reading the biography of a famous Italian painter from the 15th century named Pontormo, who painted at the time of Medici. Medici used to invite the Italian aristocracy to dinner, and one night, when Pontorno wasn't invited to one of Medici's dinners, he stayed home to cook a dinner that was inspired by carne secca and the garden view from his window. I translated this into the salad -- carne secca is the pancetta, the garden is the greens, and then to add my own twist, I incorporated eggs to the recipe."
How poetic. What else is he passionate about?
"Beans. I'm in love with beans. They're healthy and there are so many interesting kinds. I'm so in love with beans I even started a website called Republic of Beans where I sell my favorite beans that I ship from Tuscany."
Insalata di Uova e Carne Secca del Pontormo
1tbsp olive oil
2 1/2 oz diced pancetta
1 1/2 tbsp chopped parsley
1 1/2 tbsp chopped fresh marjoram
1 1/2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
1 oz mesclun or other delicate lettuce, cut into 3/4-inch strips
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and black pepper, to taste
In a padella or small skillet over medium-high heat, combine the the oil, pancetta, and herbs. Cook to render some of the fat from the pancetta, but do not brown. Crack the eggs into a bowl, but do not whisk. Pour the eggs into the pan and cook, stirring over medium-low heat with a rubber spatula, until the eggs are lightly scrambled and still very soft. Season with salt and pepper.
Remove the pan from heat to keep the eggs from overcooking. In a bowl, toss the lettuce with a drizzle of both vinegars. Add the eggs and toss. Season with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.