Broad Bean Salad with Pancetta and Sherry Vinegar
The fresh broad bean season seems to be so short, I always feel the need to feast as much as possible when I can, hence this salad. It's good as a first course or to serve alongside other salads in a cold buffet. Remember, when buying broad beans in the shell you'll need 1 lb (450 g) in weight to get 4 oz (110 g) once shelled.
Serves 4 generously
This recipe is taken from How to Cook Book Two
| 4 lb (1.8 kg) young broad beans, shelled|
| 4 oz (110 g) sliced smoked pancetta or smoked streaky bacon|
| 1 tablespoon chopped mixed fresh herbs (parsley, chives, basil and thyme, for example)|
| 2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped |
| salt and freshly milled black pepper|
|For the dressing: |
| 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar|
| 1 large clove garlic, peeled |
| 2 level teaspoons Maldon sea salt|
| 2 level teaspoons mustard powder|
| 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil|
| freshly milled black pepper|
Begin this by pre-heating the grill to its highest setting for 10 minutes or so, then place the pancetta (or bacon) on a piece of foil and grill it 3 inches (7.5 cm) from the heat for about 4 minutes; it's important to get it really crisp.
Then, as soon as it's cool enough to handle, crumble it into tiny pieces. Now place the shelled beans in a medium saucepan, add a level teaspoon of salt and pour in enough boiling water to barely cover them. When they come back to the boil, put a lid on, turn the heat down and simmer them gently for about 5 minutes. It's very important not to overcook them, so a timer would be useful here.
While they're cooking, make the dressing by first crushing the garlic and salt with a pestle and mortar until it becomes a creamy paste, then work in the mustard powder and follow this with the vinegar and a generous amount of coarsely milled black pepper.
Next add the oil and give everything a good whisk. When the beans are cooked, drain them in a colander, then place them in a serving bowl, toss them in the dressing and give it all a good stir. Now sprinkle in the pancetta, herbs and chopped shallots, taste to check the seasoning, give everything one more good mix, then cover the bowl with a cloth and leave aside for a couple of hours so the beans can absorb all the flavours.