Hi Guys, not really a recipe this but just a different way of eating a veg that has just popped into season and you will find in the markets etc – a broad bean salad or a side or if you are like me – one of my very favourite vegetables to eat as soon as I have made it!
I was brought up with frozen broad beans being a veg that sometimes we would have on a dinner – you know with meat, potatoes and gravy, cooked to death until they turned a strange shade of grey and tasted quite strong – although I still liked them but understandably this kind of treatment to a poor bean put a lot of people off. So I am here to say – reclaim the bean from being a has bean (I’ll get my coat!)
So basically this is it – remove the beans from their little fur lined green sleeping bags. I popped them into a colander that I balanced on top of the saucepan of water I was cooking pasta in so they steamed – obvs you could boil them – I didn’t want to dirty another saucepan and would use the colander to drain the pasta (ingenious some would say, others would say slummy!). They take just a few minutes to become tender. Whilst this is happening squish a small clove of garlic to a paste (I do it with a side of a knife and some salt but I presume a press would do?) pop it onto a plate. Glug onto the plate your best extra virgin olive oil, and some vinegar (white or red wine, Sherry, cider etc) then stir all together – so basically you have made a dressing. When the beans are just tender, pop them onto the plate and fold them into the dressing so they all get a very light coating. (It really is a light coating you don’t need to drown them). Finely grate over a touch of parmesan or pecorino and that’s it. Taste it for the balance of flavour you like in a dressing and that’s it. It really makes the beans taste fresh zingy and wonderful, allowing their unique flavour to shine through.
Now it would be remiss of me if I didn’t tell you that many many people will remove the skin from each individual broad bean after cooking and before popping into the dressing. Visually it looks amazing as the bean inside the skin is a vibrant green. Taste wise I guess they taste milder and you don’t have the texture of the skin to contend with. As you know I am quite rustic in my approach and really can’t bring myself to do this so I don’t. However – my kids remove the skin of each broad bean before they eat them – which is just fine and dandy as long as they eat them. So if you have sceptics around the table try de-skinning them – or if you are a lazy old trout like me – tell them to crack on. Whatever you do, embrace the seasonality of the broad bean and let’s raise their profile.