Walnut, chestnut and pancetta salad

AT A GLANCE

  • Serves 4 people

  • 400 gm fresh chestnuts
  • ½ ficelle, cut into 5mm thick slices
  • 1 clove of garlic, bruised
  • 40 gm butter, melted
  • 150 gm pancetta, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds
  • 100 gm walnut halves
  • 1 celery heart, thinly sliced widthways
  • 2 red or yellow witlof, trimmed and leaves separated
  • 2 heads of baby endive, trimmed, washed, dried and torn
  • ¼ cup walnut oil
  • 1½ tbsp aged red wine vinegar
01   Cut a cross into the top of each chestnut, then place in a hot char-grill pan and cook, turning, for 10-15 minutes over medium heat or until skins are burst and charred, and flesh soft. Cool slightly, but while still hot, peel away shells, then skin.
02   Rub bread slices on one side with garlic, brush lightly on both sides with butter, then toast both sides under a hot grill until golden.
03   Heat a heavy-based frying pan until hot, add pancetta and cook, tossing over high heat for 5 minutes or until golden. Add fennel seeds, walnuts and chestnuts and cook, tossing until lightly toasted.
04   Place celery heart, witlof and endive in a large bowl, then scatter with chestnuts and walnut mixture. In another bowl, whisk together oil and vinegar, season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, drizzle with dressing and toss gently to combine. Divide salad among bowls and serve immediately with croûtons.
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