Serves 8 to 10 as a side dish
- 2 large heads chicory or curly endive
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 ounces pancetta, cut into ¼ inch cubes
- 3 ripe but firm Comice pears
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 8 ounces Brussels sprouts, thinly shaved on a mandoline
- Freshly cracked black pepper
Cut the heads of chicory in half lengthwise, and lay them, cut side up, on a cutting board. Season them with salt and pepper to taste.
Heat the oil in a 14-inch skillet over medium-high heat until smoking. Place 2 pieces of chicory, cut side down, in the skillet and cook, turning once, until wilted and lightly charred, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove, and place them, cut side up, on a large platter. Repeat with the remaining chicory.
Place the pancetta cubes in the hot skillet and cook until the fat has rendered and the pancetta is crisp, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut each chicory half into 3 or 4 pieces. Core and thinly slice the pears. Arrange 3 or 4 slices over each piece of chicory.
Drain all but 3 tablespoons of the fat from the skillet and add the vinegar. Immediately toss the Brussels sprouts into the skillet and cook quickly for 1 minute, until just wilted. Season with salt and pepper, and spoon the Brussels sprouts mixture over the chicory and pears. Serve with plenty of freshly cracked black pepper.
Molto Batali by Mario Batali (Ecco, 2011).