We love the salty-sweet combination of pancetta and shrimp in this recipe from Salumi: Savory Recipes and Serving Ideas for Salame, Proscuitto and More (Chronicle, 2009). Finished with a Cognac demiglace, this secondi plate is the perfect pairing with a glass of mineral-rich Friulano or orangey Malvasia.
6–8 paper-thin slices pancetta (not too lean)
12 jumbo or 16 large shrimp, peeled and deveined, or 12 large sea scallops, foot muscle removed
Freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup Cognac
Lemon wedges for serving
Cut each pancetta slice—six slices if using jumbo shrimp or scallops and eight if using large shrimp—in half crosswise so you have a total of 12 or 16 pieces. Wrap each shrimp or scallop in a half-slice of pancetta. Sprinkle with pepper.
In a large sauté pan, warm the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp or scallops and sauté quickly, turning once, until the shrimp turn pink, or the scallops firm up a bit and take on some color, and the pancetta becomes golden, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer to warmed individual plates.
Pour the Cognac into the pan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer and deglaze the pan, dislodging any browned bits stuck to the pan bottom.
Spoon the pan juiced over the shellfish. Serve at once with lemon wedges. Serves 4.