Sunday, December 13, 2009

Broadening our horizons

The broad bean season is short - even shorter than asparagus and you need to get the most out of it. This year I think I cracked it. I had been trying too hard. Broad beans are fiddly but worth it. First buy more than you think you'll need. You arrive home from the market with an enormous bag of beans and once you've podded them you have a disappointingly small pile in a bowl. Pod the beans and cook them in a pot of boiling water for 4-5 minutes - a bit less if they are very small. I put them into a pot of boiling water & boil hard with the lid off - I read that in Jane Grigson years ago & that's how I treat all greens I am boiling or blanching. Refresh them under cold water & then remove the skins. Some people don't bother but if they are a bit old the skins are really hard and may make turn you against broad beans for life. Even if they are young they are so much prettier sans skin. Just before you are ready to eat steam them for 2 minutes or put back in the original pot (you lifted them out with a slotted spoon & saved the water) & bring back to the boil. Then toss in a mustardy lemony vinaigrette - just lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper & grainy mustard. Turn into a serving dish & top with crumbled feta. I think you could substitute slices of mozzarella or bocconcini but I haven't tried it. This is the ultimate broad bean experience.
I bumped into Marie at the market last week & she mentioned that she had dined out on a broad bean past. It sounded something like this - and this was really nice. Prepare the beans to the skinned stage & boil the pasta water because none of this takes long. Mandy, you asked about an alternative to the salmon pasta & I think this is it. In a pan lightly saute a spring onion then add cream & heat - I just used the rest of a bottle I had in the fridge and added some mascarpone because it was there. Add lemon juice to give a tartness. Add half the beans & mash. You then have a slightly lumpy greenish creamy sauce. Add the remaining beans and stir through some crispy bacon - I added some prosciutto I had in the fridge. In the meantime, you have cooked your favourite ribbon egg pasta - remember it takes less than 5 minutes. Drain the pasta & mix with the sauce in the pan & turn onto a serving plate. I recommend adding the Parmesan at the table, only because it might make the sauce go gluggy. You could decorate with delicious pea tendrils if you have some.
Last week was the Thorndon Fair & I must mention Yummy Seeds - these are dry roasted seeds with soy sauce added, which you could do yourself but this seed guy does them so well. I have been buying them for years from fairs. They are fantastic sprinkled on a salad. Make your own or support the Yummy Seed guy - he's from Warkworth. He & his wife are delightful and they can really talk up seeds: tasty in salads - stir fry - sandwiches - steamed veges. I've been adding them to my salad lunches. Harriet can verify their Yumminess.

1 comment:

  1. yes i can verify the seeds from the seed guy are very yum. i got a pot for chritmas yum! yum in the nut roast, and yum in my tum! thanks mum!