Amanda & Merrill

Bean Salad with Pancetta

October  6, 2010

Bean Salad with Pancetta

- Amanda

Last week, I had big plans to write a post about a bean salad I had at Franny's. But then I overcooked the beans for the photo shoot and forgot to add the crucial ingredient -- pancetta. To make matters worse, I missed my own deadline because I went to a party, drank too much Scotch (someone's watching too much Mad Men), and forgot to write my post. Where is my Peggy when I need her?!

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A week has passed. This time I got the beans right, and the pancetta just where I wanted it. And now, tail between my legs, I deliver to you last week's blog recipe, a new kind of bean salad -- one that's slicked with garlicky oil, kissed with vinegar, and crowned with a crisp pancetta chip. Use whatever kind of beans you like -- here, I went for borlotti, cannellini, green kidneys and controne. There's no soaking needed, not to mention very little effort. Just start the day before and do laundry while you simmer the beans (don't let them boil!). Then serve the beans however you like: as a lunch salad or a dinner party side dish. I like them at room temperature.



Bean Salad with Pancetta

Inspired by a salad at Franny's in Brooklyn

Serves 4

  • 1/4 cup each 4 kinds of beans
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 4 small carrots, peeled and cut into 4 pieces
  • 12 sprigs thyme
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for serving
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Splashes sherry or red wine vinegar
  • 8 very thin slices pancetta

1. Place each type of dried bean in a separate saucepan (yes, this is the only annoying part of the recipe; if you'd prefer to do them together, time them according to size, adding the largest beans first and add the rest progressively so that they all finish cooking at once -- good luck!). Cover with at least 3 inches of water. Add 1 carrot (in pieces), 1 garlic clove and 2 sprigs thyme to each pan.

2. Bring to a gentle simmer -- the water should burp rather than bubble. Cook the beans until just tender but not at all mushy, 1 to 2 hours, depending on the size of the bean. Drain, rinse under cool water, and let cool. Discard the carrot, garlic and thyme.

3. Mince the remaining garlic clove. In a large saucepan, briefly warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the beans and cook for 1 minute, just to slightly warm the beans and disperse the garlic oil. Season with salt and pepper. Strip the leaves from the remaining thyme sprigs and add them to the beans. Add vinegar to taste -- it should sharpen the flavors but nothing more. Taste and adjust the salt -- yes, again!

4. Heat the broiler. Arrange the pancetta on a baking sheet. Broil until crisp.

5. Spoon the bean salad onto a wide, shallow serving dish. Top with the pancetta and sprinkle with a little more olive oil.


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boulangere October 31, 2010
Oh, oh, oh! I think I'm going to make this in a warm version for fall, adding some nice chicken stock, and maybe serve over a hefty slice of grilled bread. Wow! Thank you!
Amanda H. November 28, 2010
Hope you enjoy it.
boulangere January 24, 2011
Oh I have - several times! Thank you!
vvvanessa October 6, 2010
i saw the picture on the homepage, and my first thought was, "franny's makes a salad just like that!" it's one of my favorites and so simple-- classic franny's.
Amanda H. October 9, 2010
Love all of their side dishes/salads. Always hit the mark.
nannydeb October 6, 2010
My husband always accuses me of dirtying too many dishes, pots and pans, so this makes me feel better knowing I'm not the only one!
Amanda H. October 9, 2010
As am I glad to have your company.
LittleFrier October 6, 2010
Forgive me for being inept. But, I'm not sure how to save the excellent recipes, such as this, to my recipe box when they are part of a blog. Normally, there is a save to recipe feature on recipes that I look up, etc. Am I just missing it? Please advise on how to save this recipe to my recipe box. Thanks for your help.
Food52 October 6, 2010
Not inept at all! Soon we'll add this recipe to our searchable recipe database, where you can save the recipe and open it in a printer-friendly format. For now, it's just living in this (slightly less functional) blog post.
LittleFrier October 6, 2010
Thanks so much. By the the website....definitely a fav!
lastnightsdinner October 6, 2010
"burp rather than bubble" - I love it :)
healthierkitchen October 6, 2010
Ok - yum! And I will keep my beans at a simmer.
Amanda H. October 9, 2010
I'll be watching over your shoulder.
aargersi October 6, 2010
I never drink to much. Or overcook my beans. So I feel safe trying this recipe! OK - time to go feed my unicorn!!!
Amanda H. October 9, 2010
drbabs October 6, 2010
Amanda, I can't tell you how happy it makes me to know that even you sometimes overcook beans. (No need for tail between your legs--we've all done it. Right, people?) Great recipe! Thanks!
Amanda H. October 9, 2010
I'm also (as is Merrill) great at burning toast. Which is why our company name is Burnt Toast.
thirschfeld October 6, 2010
Are green kidney beans the same as flagolets? Just curious I have never seen green kidney beans. BTW, I have never drank to much but I have been grossly over served many times.
Amanda H. October 9, 2010
I think they are, although come to think of it, they were a little smaller than flageolets that I've cooked previously. Yes, totally understand your complaint with bartenders/hosts....
luvcookbooks October 6, 2010
Where do you get your beans? I don't know that I can do the four separate saucepans, but otherwise this looks like a great recipe. Usually I use canned beans for speed, but I can see that this recipe would not work-- relies on excellent flavor and texture of the beans. Hmmm... maybe that's why it's important to use the four separate saucepans. Now it's a Saturday or Sunday afternoon recipe.
My daughter is trying to convince me that I can wait til Christmas for the New York Times Cookbook. I don't want to put you in the middle, but I feel that it's an emergency and the print run may sell out before Christmas.
vvvanessa October 6, 2010
bklyn larder on flatbush and bergen has controne and borlotti beans. i also like the specialty/heirloom beans at the fairway and zabar's.
luvcookbooks October 7, 2010
thanks, headed to the fairway or zabar's this aft. will plan pilgrimage to brooklyn in future.
Amanda H. October 9, 2010
Definitely an emergency situation. :)