© David Loftus
fava bean and crispy pancetta salad with a pea, pecorino and mint dressing
Bring a pot to the boil, half-filled with water, but with no salt as this makes fava beans and peas toughen. Add your garlic and allow the water to boil for a couple of minutes before adding the beans. Cook for around 35 minutes, depending on how young the beans are. Simply taste one to check. If you feel the skins are a little tough, which they can sometimes be, let them cool a little and then you can peel them very quickly by pinching and squeezing the bean out. Throw the skins away, and keep the garlic clove to one side. Place your pancetta on a baking sheet, with the almonds spread out next to it. Place in a hot oven at 475°F keeping an eye on the almonds to make sure they dont color too much. You should be able to crisp up the pancetta at the same time as toasting the almonds, but simply remove one or the other if it is getting too far ahead.
To make the dressing, put your raw shelled peas and the soft, boiled garlic clove into a mortar or a food processor and bash or blitz until smooth. Add the cheese and most of the mint and stir or pulse to make a smooth paste. You want to turn this into a thick dressing, so add the olive oil and 45 tablespoons of lemon juice, to your preference. Season to taste it should have an amazing flavor of sweet peas, tangy lemon, fragrant mint and a softness and roundness from the cheese. A balance is good, but you should also trust your own judgment I generally like mine to be a bit more lemony, to cut through the smokiness of the pancetta.
Mix the dressing with the fava beans and sprinkle this over 4 plates. Crumble the pancetta over, followed by a sprinkling of the almonds, which can be crushed or bashed up a little. Tear a little mint over the top with a little shaved Parmesan if you like.
1 clove of garlic, peeled and left whole
10 1/2 oz shelled fava beans 8 slices of pancetta or bacon
1 handful of whole blanched almonds
5 1/2 oz shelled fresh peas
2 1/2 oz Pecorino or Parmesan cheese, or a mixture of both, grated
1 handful of fresh mint, leaves picked
8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
juice of 12 lemons
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper