Warm Bean Salad with Pancetta, Green Beans, and Orange-Scented Fennel

Warm Bean Salad with Pancetta, Green Beans, and Orange-Scented Fennel

I decided to play around more with this recipe and kind of let loose in the kitchen tonight! My husband described the end product as "when you see someone walking down the street in striped suit with a plaid shirt and you're like, what the hell! but...it works somehow."  All in all, it was really tasty even though it may have looked a little disjointed. I do regret forgetting to add the ricotta salata cheese to the photographed product because it made it DELICIOUS! 

GRADE

Serves: 2-3

Cost: $

Skill Level: Easy

Time to Make: 35 minutes

INGREDIENTS

1 small fennel bulb

1 orange

1 teaspoon rice vinegar

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 14.5-ounce can navy or cannellini beans

4 ounces diced pancetta

1/2 red onion

1/2 cup fresh parsley

8 ounces French green beans

4 French breakfast radishes (or regular red radishes)

Salt and pepper to taste

Shaved ricotta salata, optional, for serving

METHOD

Prepare Ingredients: Discard the core from the fennel bulb and thinly slice the bulb. Thinly slice 2 fennel stalks and discard the remaining. Juice the orange and zest 1 teaspoon of the rind for garnish. Thinly slice the onion. Drain and rinse the beans. Mince the parsley. Trim the radishes and thinly slice them lengthwise.

Prepare the Fennel: In a small bowl, add the orange juice, rice vinegar, and sugar. Add the sliced fennel and toss to coat. Season with a bit of salt.

Cook the Pancetta: Add the diced pancetta to a large cold skillet and turn on the heat to medium high. Cook, stirring regularly, until all the fat has rendered and the pancetta is very crispy, about 7-8 minutes. Remove the pancetta from the skillet and set aside.

Blanch the Green Beans: Heat a large pot of salted water over high heat. Once boiling, add the green beans and boil for 2-3 minutes or until bright green. Drain and rinse under very cold water.

Prepare the Salad: Turn the skillet with the pancetta fat up to medium high and add the sliced onion. Cook for 5 minutes or until softened and translucent. Add the beans and minced parsley and cook for 2 minutes. Add the fennel and all of the juice in the bowl to the skillet with the beans and stir to incorporate everything. Cook over medium low, stirring regularly, for 10-12 minutes or until the fennel begins to soften. Stir in the green beans and cook for 1 minute to rewarm them. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.

Toss the warm salad with the radishes and stir in half of the pancetta. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle the rest of the pancetta on top. Sprinkle the reserved orange zest on top.

To Serve: Divide the salad between bowls and top with ricotta salata if using. Enjoy!

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Designer and photographer living in NYC. I work as a design manager in ed tech and I make tasty recipes in my spare time!