1 clove of garlic
4 strips of guanciale
330g of peas,
350g of broad beans,
4 romaneschi artichokes (prepared as for Carciofi alla romana)
1 ladleful of vegetables stock
the heart of 2 cos lettuce
5 to 6 sprigs of mentuccia
Vignarola Spring salad
A wonderful dedication to spring.
A prep time of one and a half hours does seem quite long for this dish but all these spring vegetables are time consuming to prepare.
Your job is to bring out the flavours of the ingredients and then marry them together. You can also add asparagus tips, blanched apart, though this is not strictly part of the traditional recipe
Pod the peas and broad beans and set aside in separate bowls. Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and blanch the peas for about thirty seconds before plunging them into a bowl of iced water to halt the cooking process. Repeat the process with the broad beans but only for 10 seconds and then remove the outer skins.
Cut the guanciale into thin batons, Then, place in a heavy based frying pan on the heat and cook until it is crisp. Be careful not to burn the fat which comes off the guanciale this is what is going to flavour the vegetables.
Scoop the guanciale out with a slotted spoon and set aside to be add later.
Remove the pan from the heat then peel and finely chop the two shallots and cook them on a gentle heat in the heavy based pan with the guanciale fat along with the clove of garlic.
Remove the artichokes from the water they are stored in, slice in half then remove the centre choke. Slice them finely and add to the pan. Remove the clove of garlic when it starts to as it will have already added its flavour to the pan, season the artichokes and onions with a little salt and gently fry, without letting them colour, for about 5 minutes.
Add half a ladleful of vegetable stock and continue to cook until the liquid has evaporated. Add the prepared peas and broad beans and stir all the ingredients together. Add the other half ladle of vegetable stock and cook on a gentle heat for a further five minutes. When the vegetable stock has almost evaporated, add the cos lettuce leaves chopped into shreds., Return the guanciale to the pan along with the mentuccia and stir all the ingredients together. Season with salt and pepper and finish with a little extra virgin olive oil.