Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Broadly speaking...

It occurred to me the other day as I was shelling my first clutch of broad beans (sadly not own-grown yet but from the farm shop) that - if given the chance - I would really like to come back as one. They nestle in a furry pod, they're the most wonderful vibrant shade of green and they're a real harbinger of summer. Oh, and they're best culinary friends with the pig. The one thing - the only thing - to remember is to peel off that leathery white casing you get round them once podded - or more likely, tipped from the freezer bag. Make sure there's something interesting on the wireless because it's a slightly dull job - blanch them for a minute or so in unsalted boiling water, then squeeze out the outrageously green beans and discard the casing.

Of course, if you grow your own, catch them early enough and you won't need to go through this process. But if there's even a hint of white leather handbag, get squeezing.

Anyway you now have some viridian broad beans. What to do with them - eat with goats cheese or ham, make a parsley cream sauce...? All good. But if you've been there, done that, make a pesto. Take your broad beans - blanched or raw - and pound them in a pestle and mortar with a scrap of garlic, olive oil, a little Pecorino (for preference, but I did use Parmesan), a little chopped mint and a squeeze of lemon. I've left it vague, as the amounts you use are down to taste, as is seasoning. You could add some toasted pine nuts or parsley as well.

I served this spread on bruschetta, then topped with ricotta and a smidge of extra virgin. Lush with a glass of Prosecco with a little strawberry puree in the bottom. Ideal in warm early summer evening sunshine, pretty damn good in front of the TV waiting for Eurovision before dinner.

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