Broad bean salad

broad bean and bacon salad

When I was a child my list of worst nightmare foods would have included, liver, mushrooms, black pudding and melted cheese. At the top of the list though would have been broad beans. I have terrible memories of chewing through tough leathery skins to reveal that disgusting chalky texture and for years I didn’t dare touch them.

But then we started to grow broad beans on our allotment (because they’re notoriously easy to grow and we were a bit rubbish) and this was the recipe that completely converted me. Trust Delia to get it right but having said that anything mixed with crispy bacon is usually nice. Now I can’t wait for the first broad beans of the season.

This salad is best with really fresh young broad beans. I’ve learnt that when the broad beans get old and tough you have to take the time to remove the white outer layer of skin and even then it’s best to turn them into broad bean hummus (if you want a recipe for this see my post).

Delia Smith’s broad bean salad

Serves 2

  • 700g of broad beans (shelled), or thereabouts
  • 2 rashers of lean, smoked bacon (without the rind), finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh chopped herbs (I use marjoram and parsley)
  • 4 spring onions

For the dressing

  • 1 small garlic clove, chopped and crushed
  • 1 teaspoon of English mustard powder
  • 1 dessertspoon of lemon juice
  • 1 dessertspoon of white wine vinegar
  • 1 level teaspoon of crushed rock salt
  • Freshly milled black pepper to taste
  • 4 dessertspoons of flavourless oil (like groundnut or sunflower oil)

First fry the bacon until it’s really crisp and set aside.

Make the dressing by placing all the ingredients in a jam jar and shaking until well amalgamated.

Next cook the broad beans in boiling water until tender. The time this takes will depend on how young and fresh they are (I usually find that they are done once they float to the surface of the water and this tends to be somewhere between 1 and 3 minutes).

If you’re making this later in the broad bean season then it’s best to pop the inside out of the white layer of skin which tends to be thick and chewy when the beans are older.

Drain thoroughly and toss them in the dressing while they are still warm. Stir in the bacon and spring onion and serve.

I like to serve with some cucumber and salad leaves. If you’re feeling particularly lavish then a poached egg on top works brilliantly.

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