The Cottage Smallholder

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Broad bean and smoked duck breast salad with a garlic and spring onion dressing recipe

broad bean and duck breast saladIf anyone had suggested ten years ago that I might like to try growing broad beans, I would have thought that they were deranged.

I hated broad beans. The flouriness of the beans and their crinkly skins.

When John arrived with a large smile and a box of seeds it would have been rude to say no. So I smiled and enthused as he planted an entire bed of the kitchen garden with the plump seeds of these loathsome plants.

I cared for these plants. Nipping of the tops to avoid the invasion of blackfly. Watering them when it was dry. They were planted in November and within six months chubby pods were appearing. John snapped off a plump pod and split it open to reveal the row of beans snug in their six ply lining.
“I think that you can start harvesting.”

He clearly had twigged that I wasn’t overly keen as he left a large handful of pods in my uncle’s old trilby on the back step before he left. This trilby is worn by John when it rains and doubles as a small trug on days when the weather is fine.

When Danny spotted them he just had to cook them and suddenly 72 feet of broad bean plants seemed too few.

Picked young and cooked within a day, broad beans are a delicacy. Take a chance and grow them next year if you haven’t discovered this secret.

This rich salad is exquisite and is best served on its own as a starter, with fresh crusty bread to mop up every drop of the juices.

Broad bean and smoked duck breast salad with a garlic and spring onion dressing recipe (starter for 4)

For the salad:

  • A couple of handfuls of podded broad beans (about 15 – 20 smallish pods)
  • 2 continental spring onions (sliced fine)
  • 50g of cubed, smoked duck breast

For the dressing:

  • 8 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp of lemon juice
  • 2 tsp of white wine vinegar
  • Half a heaped tsp of mustard powder
  • Half a flat tsp of salt
  • 1 fat clove of garlic
  • 2 spring onions chopped
  • 1 tsp of sugar to taste


  1. Add the podded broad beans to boiling water bring up to simmering point and simmer for four minutes and strain. They should be soft with a bite.
  2. Meanwhile toss your garlic and sliced spring onion into your food processor. Blitz. Then pour in the olive oil and the mustard powder and salt. Blitz again. When the mixture has emulsified add the lemon juice, sugar and vinegar. Blitz. (this dressing could be chopped and beaten by hand at a pinch).
  3. Pour the dressing over the warm broad beans and allow the flavours to infuse for a few hours.
  4. Just before serving, Stir the spring onions into the salad, heat the duck breasts and scatter over the top. Serve in individual ramekins to avoid fights.

  Leave a reply


  1. Fiona Nevile

    Hello Kay

    That’s great!

    Your potato and choclate mint salad sound yummy.

  2. I made it – free-range duck breast rather than smoked, and served it with a new potato and chocolate mint salad (I got the chocolate mint at a herb fair and it does smell just like After 8 mints but tastes like mild spearmint) and it was superb! Thanks, Fiona, for a great dinner.

    And yes, I did get very wet picking the pods.

  3. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Hank

    Thanks so much for these tips!

    I didn’t slip the skins off but will try next time and also venture onto you site for your recipes!

    I’d always wondered what Fava beans were like! Now I know that Fava beans are broad beans.

    We still have beans gowing. I love them too!

  4. Did you slip the skin off those broad beans (which we call favas)? While they are perfectly edible with the skins, if you blanch the podded beans in salty water for a minute, then plunge them into ice water, the grayish-green skin will slip off to reveal the most beautiful, lurid green bean you have ever seen!

    Favas are my favorite bean — but only when they are bright green and fresh. If you still have some, slip the skins off and try your favas naked! (I have a bunch of recipes for them on my site if you are at all interested).

  5. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Magic Cochin

    That sounds like a wonderful recipe. Can’t wait to try it. Thanks!

    Hi Lindsay

    It is scrummy, but very rich so you only need a small amount.

    Hi Kay

    Hope that you liked it, if you did venture out in the rain.

  6. Sounds delicious! I might just try a version of this tonight, although it would mean picking broad beans in the rain ….

  7. Lindsay

    Lovely recipe – thanks.

  8. magic cochin

    Broad beans are the native north European bean – so what better to accompany smokey cured meat.

    Have you tried boiling a bacon joint then after taking the meat out cook newly dug potatoes and freshly harvested broad beans (and new carrots if you have them) in the cooking liquid. Make a bechamel sauce also using some of the liquor and add chopped parsley and savoury (THE herb for broad beans) and you have a smallholder’s feast of feasts!!!!!

    I’ll give the dressing a try sounds yummy!

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