Broad bean bash

Well you either love ’em or you hate ’em.  I love ’em.  Broad beans.

Early pickings in the spring – steamed in their pods till just tender. Two minutes will do.

Or if you have some time on your hands – maybe The Archers Omnibus on Sunday morning or World Music on Radio 3 in the afternoon – remove from the pod and blanche in boiling water for just a minute. Then refresh with very cold water. After 5 minutes, remove all the husks (the chooks will love them).  At this stage you can  cover and use later in the day to stir into a rich risotto base, enlivened with Pernod, chopped flatleaf parsley and mint and then fold in a good handful of grated parmesan and a knob of butter to make it glisten.  Risotto should be loose, with some liquid still visible. In our house it is eaten with a spoon and a slurp.

Alternatively, treat the beans in the same way as when you prepared for the risotto – blanche and de-husk – but instead make the most gorgeous green bean hummus.  First eaten at Jan’s house with toasted ciabatta years ago it was a never to be forgotten experience.  Have ready plenty of de-husked beans, then slug some good olive oil in a pan and a couple of cloves of crushed garlic (easiest way to mush up the garlic is to use a Microplane – but watch your fingers), add the beans, season with seasalt and black pepper then take off the heat and mash with a fork. You are looking for a combination of soft mush but with chunks of bean.  There’s something about mint and broad beans that is a marriage made in heaven.  Throw in some chopped mint and a squeeze of lemon to keep it fresh.  Toast some ciabatta or sourdough and pile on a plate. Put the dish of bean-hummus in the middle of the table and dig in – serving extra lemon on the side and maybe – just maybe – some chilli oil.

A tiny concession to the carnivores here………..  quickly cook some chopped Chorizo. When I’ve not been able to stock up at Brindisa, I get mine from The Chilli Company in Mendlesham.  Theirs is a big hearty chunky chorizo with plenty of paprika and a slight acid edge. Its really robust. Anyway. I digress.  Chop the chorizo into chunks and throw into a hot pan with olive oil and garlic.  Turn the chorizo round in the pan till it catches, then throw in a couple of finely chopped tomatoes. Stand back, it will sizzle!  When the juice of the tomatoes hits the oil and the chorizo it makes a gorgeous juice. Add small broad beans and cook for two minutes.  Serve with a large glass of red, chunks of bread to mop up the juice, maybe a chunk of Manchego.  Even better with good friends and hot sunshine. Salud!

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