Do you like broad beans? My grandparents used to grown them in the garden. I’d sit on the bottom step of my Grandma’s kitchen stool and pop the beans from their furry pods. That stool now sits in my kitchen. I look at it and think how small I must have been then. I think many people have bad memories of overcooked greys, as opposed to fresh greens. Broad beans, cabbage and brussel sprouts all fit in this category. But broad beans can be delicious. I love them. They are very healthy.
I was very excited to see the first spring broad beans appearing at the farmers market. Buy the early season broad beans in their pods. The beans inside are often small, young and sweet. They are so tender I have trouble not to eat them before they make it to the pot. You can easily throw them through a garden salad just like that. If you like, you can separate the larger ones out, and blanch them ever so briefly. Later in the season, when the beans are bigger and the skins tougher, take them out of the skins to reveal the bright green beans inside. This way you avoid the grey greenness and hold onto the tender sweetness of good broad beans.
I think it’s lovely to make a ‘spring spaghetti’ with broad beans, baby zucchini, fresh herbs and young cheese. Why not pick up some local smoked trout, from Snowy Mountains, or Cypress Valley at the Capital Region Farmers Market. I think broad beans and trout go beautifully together. You can put the two together in a lovely warm salad with potato and fresh chives. I like to crisp the trout skin and use it as a garnish on top.
I tried something new with my broad beans this week. I made a truly delicious broad been, nettle and potato frittata. I topped it with some lovely sheep curd. If you wanted, you could use a nice young goat cheese. It was a really special dish. It made a great brunch, but would also be great for a weekend lunch or light dinner. I boiled some peeled potatoes till they were well cooked. While they were cooking I blanched my nettles to deactiviate the sting. I pulled the nettle leaves from the stems, broke up the cooked potatoes and added my young broad beans. The whole lot went into a small non-stick pan with two beaten eggs. Dolloped with sheep cheese, I popped the lid on and cooked it slowly, till the egg was just set. Serve immediately. Feel free to add a mild side salad if you like. I served mine with some celery cress.
What are your suggestions for broad beans?