Broad beans encapsulate summer and this salad really shows them off. The nutty flavours of the hazelnuts and the Comté, as well as the salty tang of the cheese and the pancetta, is balanced by the freshness of the basil and mint.
- Preheat oven to 190℃ normal / 170℃ fan. Lay the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, until golden brown – don’t let them burn. Set aside to cool and chop roughly.
- Bring a pan of water to the boil, add the broad beans and cook for 3 to 5 minutes until just tender: not crunchy, but not mushy. Drain them into a colander, run under cold water, then drain again. Remove the skins from each bean by slitting the skin with your nail, then gently popping the bean out of its skin – though it’s a bit fiddly and takes a few minutes, this really does improve the taste and texture.
- Lay a piece of absorbent kitchen paper on a dinner plate. Heat a large frying pan over a medium-high heat and, once it is hot, lay strips of pancetta over the base of the pan. The pancetta will cook very quickly so be prepared to turn the strips over almost straight away to brown on each side, but not burn. Once cooked, lay the pancetta strips onto the kitchen paper to absorb the excess fat. You may need to cook the pancetta in 2 batches.
- Make the salad dressing: in a clean jam jar, mix together the olive oil, lemon juice, mustard and maple syrup (or agave syrup or honey) with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Shake vigorously to combine.
- Roughly chop the basil and mint and put in a large bowl (that has enough space to toss the salad) with the salad leaves, broad beans, half the hazelnuts and half the Comté. Roughly chop 8 strips of the pancetta, add it to the bowl, then pour over the dressing and toss the salad with your hands.
- Using your hand, arrange the salad onto 2 plates, then lay over the remaining strips of pancetta and the Comté, sprinkle over the remaining hazelnuts and serve.
Recipe © Laura Pope