Seasonal Recipe No 53: Simple ways with broad beans


You either love ’em or loathe ’em. Fortunately some of us really do love them.

Broad beans are best eaten when they’re small and succulent. If you’re faced with some mealy monsters, boil or steam them as normal then “double pod” them by slipping the skins off the cooked beans. Fiddly but worth it.

My favourite ways with broad beans are short and simple. Cookery writer Nigel Slater offers a number of unfussy suggestions suitable for both meat-eaters and vegetarians. These come from his books The 30-Minute Cook and Real Fast Food.

1.  Broad beans with bacon

Serves 2 as a main dish 

Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking: 15 minutes

450g shelled broad beans
1 tbsp olive oil
100g bacon, diced
freshly ground black pepper

A dish to eat with a bottle of beer. Drop the beans into a pan of boiling salted water and blanch for no more than 10 minutes. Warm the olive oil in a frying pan and fry the diced bacon until it starts to crisp at the edges. Drain the broad beans and add them to the bacon with a light grinding of pepper. Stir well and then cover with a lid. Cook for 5 minutes until the beans are absolutely tender.

2.  Broad bean, bacon and Feta salad

The saltiness of the bacon and Feta cheese is toned down by the mealy broad beans. Cook the shelled beans in salted water till tender, about 10 minutes, and then drain and toss them with hot, crisp grilled bacon and roughly chopped and crumbled Feta cheese. Good with a beer.

3.  Broad beans and goat’s cheese

Broad beans and goat’s cheese are an extraordinarily good combination. It was Claudia Roden who first brought them to my attention in her book, The Food of Italy. Ms Roden adds the shelled beans to chopped onion fried in olive oil, then simmers the two with water until very tender, drains them and serves them with cheese warmed under the grill.

I have also cooked the beans in boiling water till tender, drained and placed them in a shallow gratin dish. Then I covered them thoroughly with slices of cheese cut from a goat’s log and popped them under the grill until the cheese had just melted. Eaten with crisp French bread it made a delightful lunch.

This time Nigel suggests a bottle of cold, dry white wine. I’m with him on that one.

More broad bean recipes recommended by Camel CSA

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