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Chef Troy

- Chef Troy

Braised Pancetta “PLT” Sandwich with Sun-Dried Tomato Aioli

Posted: Friday, Apr. 12, 2013

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Chef Troy Gagliardo

CChef Troy Gagliardo is a self-taught chef that has parlayed his years of kitchen experience into many other culinary ventures. Including a proprietary spice line, cook books, commercials, food styling, cooking/restaurant columns, endorsements, cooking classes, and live appearances. Troy has been voted as one of the Charlotte’s Top Five Chefs two years in a row by Creative Loafing readers. Chef Troy has appeared in two national commercials with NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Jr. and joined him for a media tour day just days before Dale Jr. won his second Daytona 500 to start the 2014 NASCAR season. For the past seven years, Chef Troy has appeared each week on Charlotte's morning show WCCB News Rising, cooking his way through "Troy’s Everyday Eats". Filmed live each week at the WCCB Charlotte studios, Chef Troy teaches his unique style of food with a simple Warren publishing recently signed Chef Troy to publish his new cookbook entitled Pseudo Southern-a playful twist on the art of southern cooking, which has been endorsed by Top Chef Alum and best-selling author Fabio Viviani and also star of “A Chef’s Life” Vivian Howard. Fabio said of Pseudo Southern, "Southern food is my second home. It's as close to my heart like Italy is, and that is why I love Troy's recipes so much. They remind me of the childhood I would have had if I was born in the south”. Vivian had this to say, “Troy’s take on southern food is just left of center, fun, and refreshing. His recipes are approachable that even the most jaded cook will be intrigued to try.” Chef Troy is also a free-lance food writer for the Charlotte Observer and Examiner.com and lives in Mooresville, NC with his wife Tracy, of twenty-three years, and their two daughters, Ally and Isabella. He can be seen every Tuesday morning from 7-9 am on WCCB News Rising.

I have always wanted to cure my own bacon so with a fresh 12 pound pork belly I decided to make it happen. I purchased my pork belly, that had been prepared only hours before, from Mills Family Farm in Mooresville, NC. It doesn’t get any fresher than that, so the thought of not braising it fresh seemed a little odd.

I decided I would practice a little patience and cure the belly in three separate pieces. Two would be cured for 8 days with a combination of pink salt, spices and herbs. The other piece cured the same but then rolled into a log, tied and hung to dry for 21 days. The rolled piece, salt cured and aired dried, is what is known as pancetta or Italian bacon.

Most pancetta is only salt cured and aired dried, but newer versions of the streaky, salty and slighty sweet bacon is now being lightly smoked in the style of what most of us think as “real” bacon.

Finally after over a month of waiting my pancetta was ready for eating. Of course I sliced a few rings off, pan cooked it and ate it as is, but for Easter I made a pasta dish called Bucacini Alla Amatricina. The Amatricana is a bacon laden tomato based sauce that is classically used with pancetta chunks. (for this recipe visit www.cheftroy.net)

However, on “Tuesdays with Troy” this past week on WCCB News Rising, I made this amazing “PLT” that the crew went absolutely nuts over. The pancetta is first slow cooked in a braising style, then crisp to perfection and made into a sandwich with lettuce, tomato, onion, avocado and a homemade sun-dried tomato aioli (mayo). Even if you don’t cure your own pancetta this sandwich will be awesome using any type of bacon.

Braised Pancetta “PLT” Sandwich with Sun-Dried Tomato Aioli

• 4 Each-Thick Sliced Pancetta-1/2” thick
• To Taste-Black Pepper
• To Brush-Olive Oil
• To Taste-Sun-Dried Tomato Aioli-see recipe
• 4 Each-Ciabatta Roll
• 1 Each-Avocado-halved, seeded, sliced
• 1 Each-Beefsteak Tomato-four thick slices
• To Taste-Red Onion-thin sliced, half moons shapes
• 1 Head-Frisee’ Lettuce-cored and pulled


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Place pancetta in oven save dish cover with cold water and seal with aluminum foil.
3. Place in oven and braise for 1 ½ to 2 hours or until tender.
4. Remove from oven, drain off water and pat dry.
5. Make aioli with recipe below and refrigerate.
6. To assemble sandwich, heat an iron skillet to medium high heat.
7. Brush braised pancetta with oil and season with black pepper.
8. Place in skillet to sear and heat through, about 2 minutes per side.
9. Remove skillet from heat leaving pancetta in pan.
10. Smear aioli on bottom half of bun, top with frisee’ and pancetta.
11. Top pancetta with tomato, avocado and onion.
12. Smear inside of top bun with mayo, top sandwich and serve.

Sun-Dried Tomato Aioli
Makes about 1 Cup
• 1 Each-Egg Yolk-organic from free range chicken
• 1 Teaspoon-Dijon Mustard
• 1 Tablespoon-Lemon Juice
• 2 Tablespoons-Sun-Dried Tomatoes-packed in oil, chopped fine
• Pinch-Salt
• Pinch-Black Pepper
• ¼-Sun-Dried Tomato Oil
• ¾-Canola Oil

1. In a deep heavy bottom bowl squeeze add egg yolk, mustard, lemon, salt and pepper, whisk until well combined.
2. Start dripping in the olive oil, literally a few drops at a time, while whisking to incorporate.
3. Keep whisking while very slowly adding both oil’s slowly, starting with drips.
4. Aioli/mayonnaise will begin to form, once all the oil has been incorporated stir in chopped sun-dried tomatoes.
5. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use in a container with a tight fitting lid for to 4 to 5 days.

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