I am one of those crazy people who don't really like salads, but this not your normal salad. I absolutely love this salad to the point that my husband and I fight over who gets to eat the last little bits left in the bowl. It comes from one of my favorite English cooks - the Naked Chef himself - Jamie Oliver. The whole combination of the salty bacon, the savory pine nuts, the sweet caramelized onions and the tangy balsamic vinegar makes this the ultimate salad. I first tried it with plain rocket or arugula, but then I've mixed it up with a rocket/spinach/cress mixture for a little variety.
2 medium red onions
8 whole slices of pancetta or smoked streaky bacon
4 sprigs fresh thyme
plentiful handful of pine nuts (1/3 cup)
4 big handfuls of rocket (arugula) or any other nice salad leaves
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. 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 medium heat for about 5-10 minutes until caramelized and sweet (not black).
Put your rocket/arugala in a big bowl or if you like to serve it in individual bowls like I do, put a big handful in smaller bowls. Divide up the bacon/onion mix and top the greens.
Drizzle generously with balsamic vinegar (this is an amazing dressing as it mixes with the olive oil). Serve with some shaved Parmesan over the top. You can use a potato peeler to do this.