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PLT Sandwich

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1 of 8
Slow-roasted plum tomato halves.

1 Slow-roasted plum tomato halves.

Pancetta

2 Pancetta

Escarole

3 Escarole

Sliced escarole ready to be sauteed.

4 Sliced escarole ready to be sauteed.

And here's what it cooks down to.

5 And here's what it cooks down to.

Baked pancetta

6 Baked pancetta

Sandwich assembly line.

7 Sandwich assembly line.

And that's a PLT.

8 And that's a PLT.

Wondering what a PLT could possibly be? Think of an Italian-style BLT and you've got it. The P is for pancetta, the Italian cousin of bacon, only it isn't smoked, rather it's salt and spice cured and air dried. Generally you'll find it in rolls or sliced and like bacon, it has to be cooked to be eaten. The T, is of course for tomatoes but in this case they're slow roasted, tossed with lemon and chopped for the sandwich. The L, or lettuce is escarole and it too is cooked; gently in olive oil with some hot pepper flakes. The three make a winning combo and are especially good on crusty ciabatta.

The roasted tomatoes will last a week in the fridge so if you like, cook off a bit more and you can have them in pasta dishes, salads, or more sandwiches.

Makes 2 sandwiches
4 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
coarse salt
1 lemon, segments removed and thinly sliced
3 ounces thinly sliced pancetta or bacon
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 medium-size head escarole, sliced into wide strips, washed and dried
mayo
2 ciabatta, split

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl toss the tomatoes with 2 teaspoons of the oil. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and roast until the tomatoes have collapsed on themselves, about 2 hours. Cool and then coarsely chop and combine with the lemon segments; season with salt. Drain if very wet.

2. Place the pancetta in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake until crisp, about 10 minutes. Lift off and drain on paper towels.

3. In a large skillet, heat the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil over medium-low heat. Add the red pepper flakes to the skillet along with the escarole and cook, stirring frequently until the escarole is wilted and tender, about 3 minutes.

4. Brush the cut sides of the ciabatta with mayo. Spoon some of the tomato relish onto each slice of bread. Top with the pancetta, escarole, and remaining tomato and close.

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