Pane Insalata with Olive Pesto and Preserved Lemons

Pane Insalata with Olive Pesto and Preserved Lemons

Italians love their bread. They have all kinds of variations- focaccia {made with Olive oil}, Schiachiatta {a flatbread stuffed with grapes and typically made during the harvest time}, grissini {breadsticks} and all kinds of regional breads with variations indigenous to a specific province.

One of my most favorite flatbreads comes from the Italian island of Sardinia. In Italy, it’s called carta di musica {music sheets} in it’s natural par-baked state, or pane carasau, when brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt. Bella Cucina calls it Pane Rustico (rustic bread) because it has been around for centuries and is still made in the traditional artisan way. It’s made of a few simple ingredients: flour, water and yeast, and rolled out into paper thin sheets about 12-14 inches in diameter. It is then par baked over clay tiles, making it puff up like an oversize pita. While still warm, it’s cut in half crosswise and pressed flat and stacked into thin sheets. Bella Cucina Pane Rustico is made by a wonderful family (most of the seven children now run the business). It comes in packages of of 20 sheets and is ready to bake or grill for the most delicious snack, antipasti or used as a base for a salad.



2 large handfuls of baby arugula leaves
1 wedge Preserved Lemon
1 shallot, peeled and chopped finely
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Wild Oregano & Sage salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 Sheet Pane Rustico flatbread
3 Tablespoons Olivada Olive Pesto
1 wedge of Parmesan {for shaving}



Wash and dry the arugula leaves, as needed. Remove the flesh from the preserved lemon and disgard. Rinse the lemon rind, dry, then chop in thin slices.

In a small bowl, add the preserved lemon, shallot, vinegar, salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until blended well.

Gently toss the arugula just until the leaves are lightly coated. {you may not need all of the vinaigrette, so best to add less to start}. Spoon the olive pesto on the cooked Pane Rustico Sheet. Top with the dressed salad and shaved Parmesan cheese.

Makes a antipasti selection, salad course or a main course when topped with grilled salmon or pulled roasted chicken.

buon appetito!

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