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Rapunzel Salad with Green Apples, Pancetta and Almonds

3 T. white balsamic vinegar
1 ½ T. minced shallot or green onion
3 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 (3-ounce) package sliced pancetta 
1/2 c. sliced or slivered almonds
8 large butter lettuce leaves
4 c. (lightly packed) Rapunzel (see note below)
1 Granny Smith apple, cut into matchstick-size strips, unpeeled for more crunch and texture, peeled for less.
Combine vinegar and shallot in bowl; whisk in oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Arrange enough pancetta in large skillet to cover bottom. Cook over medium heat until brown, turning and adding more pancetta as slices shrink. Transfer to paper towels. Add almonds to drippings in skillet. Cook until golden, about 3 minutes. Transfer to bowl and cool. DO AHEAD - Dressing, pancetta and almonds can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Apple sticks can be done ahead and then soaked in the dressing to prevent browning.
Place 2 lettuce leaves on each plate. Drizzle with some dressing. Place Rapunzel, nuts, and apples in large bowl; crumble in pancetta. Toss with enough dressing to coat (don’t overdo it!); mound on lettuce leaves.
Note: Rapunzel is a specialty green which is also called mache or corn salad. It has a unique nutty flavor. It’s worth looking for - try the specialty greens section of nicer grocery stores. If unavailable, mixed spring greens can be substituted.
Serve with Mount Palomar Sangiovese Rose


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