Broad beans are in season in the UK from the end of June to the middle of September.
They have a pale green pod which, when cracked open, reveals a fleecy lining, home to the large, flattish beans. They’re a good source of protein, carbohydrates and vitamins; for more information see our broad bean glossary page.
Broad beans have a casing that can be tough and bitter, especially when the beans are fully grown. If you pinch a bean between your fingertips and squeeze, the bright green inner bean should break through the casing. This is known as double podding, because you’re removing the outer main pod and the tough skin from the individual bean.
This process takes a little time, but it’s worth it as the beans inside are sweet and fresh. If you’re in a hurry, the flavour of broad beans works harmoniously with other seasonal greens like asparagus or peas – so you can bulk out the quantities and save time on double podding.
To make double podding easier, try cooking the unpeeled beans in boiling water for two minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water to cool them quickly, then use your nail to break into each bean and remove the tough skin.
Basic broad bean recipe
- 300g podded broad beans
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lemon, juiced
- few mint leaves
- Tip the podded beans into a pan of boiling water and cook for two minutes. Drain and cover with cold water to cool, then drain again and peel the outer skin from the beans.
- Stir in the olive oil and add lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. If you’d like a softer texture, use a potato masher to crush a few of the broad beans. Fold in the mint leaves.
- Serve on toast with shavings of pecorino or parmesan, or as an accompaniment to lamb, halloumi or fish.
Top 5 broad bean recipes:
Try a simple salad of ripe tomatoes and burrata, slathered with a broad bean-flecked salsa verde.
Make the most of seasonal summer ingredients with pan-fried pork chops served alongside colourful broad beans, spring onions, mint and Jersey Royal potatoes.
These griddled cutlets should be eaten like drumsticks, making this bright, fresh dish ideal for a sharing platter.
Enjoy a light lunch or dinner party starter of falafel-like patties served over labneh, a creamy Middle-Eastern strained yogurt cheese.
A lighter casserole packed with green veg including fennel, broad beans, peas and green beans, served in a creamy basil and parsley sauce.
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What are your favourite broad bean recipes? Leave a comment below…
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