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Chestnut and Pancetta Salad

by . Featured in HOW TO EAT
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Introduction

In the original recipe, I used escarole lettuce and you still could but I find a mixture between laziness, ease and aesthetics leans me now more towards those mixed bags of many-coloured designer salad leaves.

This is one of my favourite first courses.

In the original recipe, I used escarole lettuce and you still could but I find a mixture between laziness, ease and aesthetics leans me now more towards those mixed bags of many-coloured designer salad leaves.

This is one of my favourite first courses.

Chestnut and Pancetta Salad
Photo by Lis Parsons

Ingredients

Serves: 8 as a first course

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.

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