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Fig and Grape Salad with Pancetta-Wrapped Crostini
Chef Alice Waters of Chez Panisse—Berkeley, CA
Adapted by StarChefs

Of course, this tastes best made with an authentic, costly, artisanally made balsamic vinegar (the kind labeled “aceto balsamico tradizionale de Modena and bearing the seal of the producers’ consortium), but it can be approximated by using instead a reduction of good commercial balsamic vinegar.

Yield: 6 Servings


  • 3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar, aged 12 years or more, or ½ cup good-quality commercial balsamic vinegar plus 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 6 thick slices country-style bread
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 12 thin slices pancetta (about ¼ pound)
  • 9 ripe figs
  • 1 cup grapes, stemmed
  • 6 small handfuls arugula
  • Salt and pepper to taste


If substituting commercial balsamic vinegar, put it in a small saucepan with the brown sugar and reduce by a little more than half, until the vinegar is thick and syrupy.

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Trim the crusts off the bread and cut the slices in half lengthwise, making 12 long, thin crostini. Brush them lightly with olive oil and wrap with slices of pancetta—spirally, like candy canes. Place them on a baking sheet and bake until the pancetta begins to crisp, about 10 minutes.

While the pancetta-wrapped crostini are baking, quarter the figs, cut the grapes in half, and thoroughly was and dry the arugula. When the crostini are almost ready, gently toss the arugula and fruit with a pinch of salt, a few grinds of the peppermill, and about 3 tablespoons olive oil. Arrange the salad on plates and drizzle with the balsamic vinegar. Garnish with the crostini.