youtube pinterest twitter facebook instagram vimeo whatsapp Bookmark Entries BURGER NEW Chevron Down Chevron Left Chevron Right Basket Speech Comment Search Video Play Icon Premium Nigella Lawson Vegan Vegetarian Member Speech Recipe Email Bookmark Comment Camera Scales Quantity List Reorder Remove Open book
Menu Signed In
More Nigella recipes

Chestnut and Pancetta Salad

by . Featured in HOW TO EAT
Print me

Introduction

I've been making this salad in one guise or another since the 90s; indeed, the recipe is to be found in How To Eat, where the salad leaf I proposed was escarole. Unfortunately, it is not easy to find in the UK, but the salad works well with radicchio or any bitter, robust leaf; here I've simply opened and shaken out a couple of packets of bagged salad. Anything goes: this is such a simple arrangement, and a glorious combination of contrasts: between salt and sweet; crisp and almost fudgily dense.

In the old days, when I started making this, it was one of my favourite first courses. Now, I'm happy with it as a meal in its entirety; in which case it will easily - with some good bread on the side - feed 4. And you can easily halve it for quick supper or lunch for two, which I do often, and then eat it all myself very happily. Indeed, don't get too caught up with weights and measures: just think of balance - and your appetite!

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

I've been making this salad in one guise or another since the 90s; indeed, the recipe is to be found in How To Eat, where the salad leaf I proposed was escarole. Unfortunately, it is not easy to find in the UK, but the salad works well with radicchio or any bitter, robust leaf; here I've simply opened and shaken out a couple of packets of bagged salad. Anything goes: this is such a simple arrangement, and a glorious combination of contrasts: between salt and sweet; crisp and almost fudgily dense.

In the old days, when I started making this, it was one of my favourite first courses. Now, I'm happy with it as a meal in its entirety; in which case it will easily - with some good bread on the side - feed 4. And you can easily halve it for quick supper or lunch for two, which I do often, and then eat it all myself very happily. Indeed, don't get too caught up with weights and measures: just think of balance - and your appetite!

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

Chestnut and Pancetta Salad
Photo by Lis Parsons

Ingredients

Serves: 4 as a lightish main course; 8 as a starter

Metric Cups
  • 400 grams mixed salad leaves
  • 400 grams vacuum-packed chestnuts
  • 225 grams slab pancetta (or lardons or cubetti di pancetta)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon sherry wine vinegar
  • 14 ounces mixed salad leaves
  • 14 ounces vacuum-packed chestnuts
  • 8 ounces slab pancetta (or lardons or cubetti di pancetta)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon sherry wine vinegar

Method

  1. Cover two large serving dishes or 8 individual salad plates with the salad. Put the 2 teaspoons of oil in a pan and put it on the heat.
  2. Cut the rind off the pancetta and add that to the pan to render the fat; give it about four minutes.
  3. While that's going on, chop the pancetta into cubes or squat strips and then toss in the pan as well. In about four minutes these, too, should have given off a lot of their fat and have become dark golden in bits and crisp. If you are using ready cubed lardons, then you will obviously be dispensing with the rind-rendering fandango.
  4. Add the chestnuts and toss them in the hot fat with the pancetta. Don't worry about these breaking, as they inevitably will. I actually prefer it if the chestnuts are slightly rubbly, in two or three bits each.
  5. When these are warmed through, a matter of a minute or so, remove them and the pancetta with a spatula or slotted spoon to the lettuce-lined plates.
  6. Off the heat, stir the mustard and the remaining olive oil into the bacony fat. Mix well and and keep stirring and scraping as you add the sherry vinegar.
  7. Pour this over the salad, toss deftly and serve.
  1. Cover two large serving dishes or 8 individual salad plates with the salad. Put the 2 teaspoons of oil in a pan and put it on the heat.
  2. Cut the rind off the pancetta and add that to the pan to render the fat; give it about four minutes.
  3. While that's going on, chop the pancetta into cubes or squat strips and then toss in the pan as well. In about four minutes these, too, should have given off a lot of their fat and have become dark golden in bits and crisp. If you are using ready cubed lardons, then you will obviously be dispensing with the rind-rendering fandango.
  4. Add the chestnuts and toss them in the hot fat with the pancetta. Don't worry about these breaking, as they inevitably will. I actually prefer it if the chestnuts are slightly rubbly, in two or three bits each.
  5. When these are warmed through, a matter of a minute or so, remove them and the pancetta with a spatula or slotted spoon to the lettuce-lined plates.
  6. Off the heat, stir the mustard and the remaining olive oil into the bacony fat. Mix well and and keep stirring and scraping as you add the sherry vinegar.
  7. Pour this over the salad, toss deftly and serve.

Additional Information

For gluten free: most Dijon mustard is gluten free but check label on jar.

For gluten free: most Dijon mustard is gluten free but check label on jar.

Tell us what you think

What 1 Other has said

  • My family loves this salad! The flavours work beautifully together.

    Posted by RobyH on 28th December 2017
Show more comments