Seasonal local food recipe No 64: Borlotti beans with sage

From Sarah Raven’s Garden Cookbook. Good with slow-roasted belly of pork – or just as a first course with rocket or young spinach leaves. Another excellent recipe to try with your borlotti beans is Borlotti bean tagliatelle.

Serves: 6 as a starter, 8 as a side dish

Preparation and cooking: 40 minutes

500g fresh borlotti beans
1 garlic clove, peeled
10g sage leaves, chopped, plus plenty extra for scattering
3 tbsp olive oil, plus a little extra for drizzling
100g pancetta (or streaky bacon), chopped
slurp of red wine vinegar
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
salt and black pepper
3 handfuls of rocket or young spinach leaves (optional)

Put the beans, garlic and chopped sage into a pan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 30 minutes or so, until the beans are soft. Drain them and, while still warm, add 1 tbsp oil and put aside.

Meanwhile, fry the pancetta in a very little olive oil until crisp and add to the beans. Mix together the vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper, and slowly add the rest of the olive oil to give a very creamy dressing. Pour this over the still-warm beans, keeping a third back if you are using the salad leaves. Scatter plenty of chopped sage leaves over the top.

If using the salad leaves, dress them and divide between the plates, and spoon the beans over the leaves. Drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil.

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