Wednesday 14 July 2010

Smoked Mackerel & Broad Bean Salad

Broad beans. Lovely green little beauties, but my god what a pain in the arse they are. I tend to buy them frozen now, as it's one less step in the process. It's nice and summery to sit in the sun, podding the beans and then shelling them of their tough skins, but sometimes there just aren't enough hours in the day.

Is a salad still a salad if it's loaded with bacon and dressed with cream? Of course it is.

This recipe is Nigel Slater's and it first caught my eye in The Observer's magazine; the picture drove me to drool and I knew I had to make it. I couldn't help but have a mess around, though; there are some salty elements in the salad in the smoked mackerel and lardons, so I added a squeeze of lemon and a splodge of horseradish to pep it up a bit. The inclusion of chicory for a bitter edge offset by creaminess was ideal, and a few tangled leaves and some cooked new potatoes that needed using up made this salad into a hearty yet summery dish.

I imagine that once the broad bean season is over and we edge into autumn, replacing the beans with beetroot would work nicely to create a vivid and earthy salad. Watch this space.

Smoked Mackerel & Broad Bean Salad

Serves 2, adapted from Nigel Slater

200gr smoked mackerel
200gr bacon lardons or pancetta
400gr frozen broad beans
6 spring onions
2 sprigs of tarragon
175ml double cream
Half a lemon
1 tsp horseradish
A few leftover potatoes (optional)
1 head of chicory
A handful of peppery leaves, such as rocket or watercress

Bring a pan of water to the boil and simmer the broad beans until tender, about 2 minutes. Drain and run under cold water. Peel the tough outer skins off them - you might want to get an extra pair of hands to help you out.

Fry the bacon lardons in a pan until browned and crispy. Drain off the oil and return to the heat. Chop the spring onions roughly and throw them in, frying for a minute or two. Add the cream and simmer for a minute until thickened slightly. Add the lemon juice, horseradish and throw in the broad beans. Remove from the heat, add the tarragon, chopped, and set to one side.

To assemble, take apart the chicory leaves and distribute evenly on two plates. Scatter slices of the potato over it and then the leaves. Add the bacon, then spoon the creamy broad beans over it, topping it with large chunks of the smoked mackerel. Eat immediately; it's far better warm than cold.


Anonymous said...

oh my god this looks so incredible... so much more adventurous with your broadbeans that mine...

The Curious Cat said...

This sounds yummy! I'm not a big fan of broadbeans but these photos make my mouth water! xxx

Joshua said...

A lot of the time I'm too lazy to take those white covers off so I end up doing it as I eat but then I'm left with a pile on my plate so I tend to eat it to get it out the way.

Becci said...

Haha. I saw this in the Observer and immediately put it on my "to make" list. Looks so lovely... and I'm a big fan of the meaty salad!

It looks amazing. Now I want it even more.

Jessica said...

Winner. My current obsession is mackerel and horseradish and had missed this receep. Great work legs (though I think I'll have to work with soured cream instead).

Nora said...

That looks yummy. I tried this recipe but didn't have many broad beans so it was all mackerel, bacon and cream - far too rich for me. I shall have to give it another go, with more beans and perhaps some chicory.

Helen said...

Pretty, oh so pretty, so pretty and witty and gay! Ok perhaps not the last two but that's how the song goes innit.

Northern Snippet said...

I agree love them but they are a pain in the butt. I spent a whole afternoon last fri shelling them, then knocked the whole pot on the floor.

Anonymous said...

It looks great and no doubt tastes great too, but it's certainly not for the weight-watchers! Let's have a quick check:

Mackerel: 200 calories per 100g = 400kcal
Pancetta: 400 calories per 100g = 800 kcal
(pancetta is approx 50% saturated fat)
Double cream: 450 calories per 100ml = 765kcal

= 1965 calories

So before you add any beans, horseradish sauce, potatoes or onions you're just about at the 1000 calories per serving mark with a hefty dose of salt and saturated fat. This salad is roughly equivalent of eating a curry, but possibly less healthy due to the large amount of saturated fat.

Anonymous said...

Jeez, what a killjoy.

Go and eat a ricecake.


Hollow Legs said...

belleaukitchen - Thanks! I do love broad beans, but what a pain...

Curious Cat - No? I think peas would be a fine substitute.

Josh - There's an idea. I had them in a tapas place recently with the skins, I just munched 'em down.

Becci - Thanks! It's a good one.

Jess - Soured cream would work well too - maybe thin it down with a little milk.

Nora - Oof - it would be too rich and salty if you got the proportions wrong. Lemon helps cut through it.

Helen - Lovely singing ;)

Northern Snip - That must've been SO annoying!

Anon. - I'm not sure I ever claimed it was for the weight watchers. I think you're confusing me with someone who cares about calories. But thanks for posting it anyway.

Chris Pople said...

Anonymous: I bet you're a hit at dinner parties.

Anonymous said...

This looks amazing Lizzie. I have to confess I wasn't overly taken by the recipe when I saw it in The Observer but your description has sold it to me.

Graphic Foodie said...

I'm going to make this but then add extra lardons and more cream just for Anon and I'm gonna love it.

S said...

adore this- esp the addition of horseradish. a great combo. xxx shayma

Sally said...

I had this recipe saved to try this weekend, will definately do so now!