Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Simple Meals with Pancetta, Day One: the PLT

This week, my family is on "Staycation".  You would think that I'd be locked in the kitchen and cooking every day, but that hasn't been the case.

#1- There's lot of work to be done around the house
 #2- It's been unseasonably warm

In Wisconsin, we have a very short window of time where we can do outdoor work.  We are in that window right now.  The deck has to be stained at ours and our son's house.  Windows have to be caulked.  Driveway cracks have to be patched.  Grass needs to be reseeded.  I could go on with my list of house repairs, but I'll spare you. 

Also, there's a temperature issue lately.  In my lifetime, this has been the hottest summer on record.  I love cooking, but I don't like my house to get up to 95 degrees because I've gone a little berserk in the kitchen! 

These two issues would normally be the perfect excuse for us to head over to a drive-thru and order a couple of items off the value menu.  Why do that when you can make a delicious meal in the same amount of time as it takes to drive to your local fast food joint.  With just a little bit of planning, you can cook up one of the "standards of summer" but put a little twist on it, too!  Hence, the PLT.

PLT- a twist on the standard BLT

What's a PLT?  A PLT is like a BLT (Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato) but substitute Pancetta.  What's Pancetta?  (pronounced "pan-chet-ta") When my family asked, I simply said, "Italian Bacon".  Really, there's a lot of truth in that- except, it's seasoned differently.  When cooked, you can smell the aroma of nutmeg and fennel.  It's very unique and can transform a regular bacon recipe to something really special!  You can find pancetta at your local grocery store or butcher by the deli counter.  If you can find prosciutto, you can often times find pancetta right next to it.  Usually, it's in a plastic package and already pre-sliced or cubed.

I was so lucky to see it carried whole in our local deli case!  They didn't have it opened or priced.  I sat there for 20 minutes while they tried to figure out how to price it and slice it.  Finally, I stepped in and helped. (yeah- I even told them where to find it in their "meat pricing directory"-- bossy, right?) 

Once you buy your pancetta, you'll want to make sure that you have a good bread available.  I used a large ciabatta bread. Individual ciabatta rolls would work, too.  Don't just use white bread for this delicious sandwich. 

  • Pancetta, sliced "thick" if possible
  • Bread, ciabatta or other high quality bread
  • Tomato, sliced
  • Lettuce, preferably a darker green/non-iceberg variety
  • mayonnaise


In a frying pan on medium heat, fry up your pancetta until the edges are getting crispy. (similar to cooking regular bacon)  Flip the pancetta occasionally and be careful not to overcook it.  When done, place the cooked pancetta on a paper towel-lined plate so that the grease absorbs.  Now, assemble the sandwich just like you would a BLT.  Spread mayo on some sliced bread, add your sliced tomatoes and lettuce, add a slice or two of pancetta, and close up your sandwich. 

Now, ENJOY!  If you're like my family, you may never eat a regular BLT again!



  1. I had a similiar experience trying to buy Serrano ham. Sounds like a yummy sandwich. I would maybe place a runny egg on top for a breakfast sandwich. Great to see your photo progressing. One tip of advice, if you plan on submitting your photos you have to stand back a little bit. I use to love up close detailed shots but photo sites don't like them. :)

    1. Thanks, Sarah! Still waiting on my 50mm lens, and that should help, too! I had some better pics, but I didn't notice the big blob of grease on my cutting board and the purple lettuce leaf that had fallen until AFTER the family ate their sandwiches. ARG! (as it is, you can see the little purple leaf on the bottom of this one- drives me nuts!) I had to use the close up because of that. Oh well-- It's only my second full month so I'm still happy! Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Do you have any idea how much I love Pancetta? It is right up there with Chorizo!

    1. I didn't! You'll like tomorrow then, too!