Broad bean treats

I love broad beans. Back in New Zealand I grew a dwarf variety in my garden and took care to pick them when they were still small enough to eat raw, without peeling the skins off. This year, I’ve had them in my Riverford box a couple of times. The first time I made a pea and broad bean risotto. It was fairly simple with some shallots, celery, white wine, pureed peas, homemade vegetable stock, thyme, mint, parsley, and the blanched, peeled broad beans added at the end, with lots of parmesan and a fair amount of sharp, grassy Spanish olive oil, freshly ground black pepper, and Maldon salt.

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The result was a revelation. I had honestly never tasted risotto so good.

This week, when broad beans appeared in the box again, I was tempted to make the risotto again, but had run out of stock and felt like trying something new.

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I think I saw Nigella make something like this years ago, and when I had broad beans in my veg box again this week I dredged the partial memory up. It goes something like: pod broad beans, blanch them and then skin them. Mash together roughly with a chopped up garlic clove, grated lemon rind, lemon juice, olive oil, chopped parsley, salt and pepper. Serve on freshly toasted ciabatta bread and top with shaved Parmesan. It was absolutely delicious.

There are so many people out there who don’t like broad beans. I agree that they’re horrible bought frozen from the supermarket, and you can only get away with eating the young ones with their skin on. But if you can get hold of some freshly picked beans, either from your garden, veg box, or farmer’s market (by they time they make it to the supermarket they’re probably already too old) then they can taste amazing.

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