Crispy Pancetta, Roast Cod, Broad Bean and Orange Roast Fennel Salad

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By Peter Gordon

Published 2005

  • About

Pancetta and panceta are respectively the Italian and Spanish terms for cured pork belly, much like bacon – and the Spanish version is usually also rubbed with pimenton (smoked paprika) before it is cured. Both styles are much firmer than bacon and will go very crisp when cooked. If you can, buy a slab of it and slice it yourself; however, if you’re not too keen on the idea, then get your deli to do it for you.

Always buy cod that has been fished in a sustainable manner – your fishmonger should be able to tell you if it has. If no cod is available, then you can replace it with most other fish; but for this dish you want to use something with flesh that breaks into large flakes – try salmon, sea trout, large snapper, pollock or haddock. This salad can be served warm or cold.


  • 3 medium heads of fennel
  • 1 large orange
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 200 g thinly sliced pancetta, rind removed
  • 800 g cod fillets, pin bones removed
  • 2 large handfuls of broad beans, cooked and podded
  • small handful of dill, cut into 2 cm lengths
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 heads of chicory, leaves separated


Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas 4. Trim both ends off the fennel and slice the heads across into 3 mm rings. Peel the rind off the orange, avoiding the pith underneath (or use a citrus zester, which is made just for this one job), then cut it into fine julienne strips. Juice the orange.

Place the fennel, orange zest and juice in a non-reactive roasting dish (ideally a ceramic one) and drizzle on a third of the oil. Season and bake until the fennel has wilted and begun to colour a little, tossing it once after about 20 minutes. It should take about 35 minutes in all.

You can cook the pancetta in one of two ways. The first is to lay it on a cake rack above a baking tray and bake in the bottom of the oven while the fennel is cooking until it goes very crisp, around 40 minutes; the second is to cook it slowly in a non-stick pan until crisp.

Rub half the remaining oil over the flesh side of the cod and season it. Lay it in a roasting dish lined with baking parchment, skin side down, and roast until just cooked – check it after 8 minutes, as the exact cooking time will depend on the size of the pieces. The cod is cooked when you can separate the flesh using a small sharp knife – it should be a little opalescent.

Mix the broad beans with the dill, the remaining olive oil and the lemon juice.

To Serve

Place the chicory on 4 plates and scatter the fennel over. Once the cod has cooled sufficiently for you to handle it, flake it apart and divide over the fennel. Add the bean and dill salad with any of their juices, then lastly lay the pancetta on top.