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Spring Leeks, Fava Beans, and Bacon

Jonathan Lovekin © 2009

Servings: 2 as a light lunch


  • 3 or 4 young, slim leeks
  • 6 slices pancetta or unsmoked bacon
  • 1 thick slice butter
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 2 lb. fava beans in their pods
  • 2 loosely packed Tbs. fresh tarragon leaves, chopped
  • a handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped


  • Bring a deep pan of water to a boil. Wash and thickly slice the leeks. Remove the rind from the bacon slices and cut each slice into finger-thick strips. Warm the butter in a shallow pan and add the strips of bacon. Let the bacon color lightly in the hot butter until its fat is starting to turn pale gold, then add the sliced leeks and the garlic clove. Partially cover with a lid and let the leeks soften but not color.

    While the bacon and leeks are cooking, shell the beans and add them to the boiling water. Salt the water and let the beans cook for four or five minutes, until tender. Drain and rinse in cold water until cool enough to skin. Leave the tiniest of beans unskinned, but it is probably better to skin anything larger than a thumbnail-just squeeze each bean between thumb and finger and pop it out of its skin.

    When the leeks and bacon are soft and fragrant, stir in the tarragon, parsley, and the drained and skinned beans, then season. Stir gently, allow to heat through for a minute or two, then serve on warm plates.


Reprinted with permission from Tender: A Cook and His Vegetable Patch by Nigel Slater, copyright © 2009, 2010. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.


Rate or Review


  • NanaElaine | 04/27/2013

    Delicious. I added 5 spears of thickly sliced blanched asparagus because I had it in the fridge and about 1/4 cup diced red bell pepper for color. We had it as a side for grilled ribeye - perfect.

  • geneen | 06/07/2012

    Good! I added zucchini to this because it was fresh from my garden and also used regular bacon because I had it. Made this as a side dish not a main.

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