Green bean and bacon salad

Serves 4-6

This is a delightfully simple salad to have a bowl of as a starter or a main course in the middle of the table to share. I've used runner beans here which I have just briefly blanched, but you could also use a mixture of beans and peas if you wish.

A couple of large handfuls of small tasty salad leaves and herbs
10-12 runner beans, finely shredded on the angle
2tbsp vegetable or corn oil
100-150g bacon, cut into ½cm dice or use ready-cut pancetta or bacon pieces
3 x 1cm thick slices of bread, cut into rough 1cm square croutons
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the dressing

1tbsp cider or white wine vinegar
½tbsp Dijon mustard
2tbsp vegetable or corn oil
2tbsp olive oil
½tbsp chopped tarragon

Cook the beans in boiling salted water for about a minute then drain in a colander. Whisk all of the ingredients together for the dressing and season to taste. Heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan and cook the bacon pieces for 2-4 minutes, turning them as they are cooking until they are crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on some kitchen paper, leaving the oil in the pan.

Fry the cubed bread in the oil, turning them as they are cooking, until they are golden; then remove and drain on the paper with the bacon.

To serve, toss the salad leaves with the dressing, beans and bacon, season and transfer to a serving bowl and scatter the croutons over.

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