Broad bean recipes: take a broader view

Date:29-06-2013 07:58:02 read:7

Broad bean recipes: take a broader view

Cast all thoughts of childhood stodge aside: broad beans are a perfect complement to dairy or pork, and make a nifty falafel.

How's yer fava: Stevie’s take on the classic falafel sandwich with tahini sauce  Photo: Rii Schroer
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  • Recipe

    Broad bean, yoghurt and mint soup

  • Recipe

    Broad bean chop salad

  • Recipe

    Broad bean falafel sandwich with tahini

  • Recipe

    Pork shoulder and broad beans with milk and sage

If you are lucky enough to have a garden and grow broad beans, pick them while they’re still quite petite; the smaller ones are more versatile. I feel the same way about large, overgrown beans as I do about marrows – they’re fit only for the compost heap. I remember all too well being fed stodgy beans as a child that were about as appetising as trying to eat a pillow.

Also, like many children (and adults for that matter), I found that the broad bean just couldn’t compete with the pea. Peas were sweeter, somehow just much more fun – I see my sons take the same pleasure in propelling peas around their plates that I did.

These days I appreciate the broad bean a lot more. They have an earthy taste, which means they go well with lots of other foods. Broad beans plus dairy is a classic: around Rome, they celebrate May 1st with a picnic lunch of fave e pecorino, raw broad beans with strong ewe’s cheese.

In fact, even the starchiness of older beans can be useful. My falafel recipe would benefit from using the larger beans as you need a bit of starch to help the mixture to stick together. I’m a fan of falafel, but the chickpea version can feel heavy. Broad beans make them a bit lighter.

The chop salad brings broad beans together with radishes and feta. It’s an unbelievable combination. This salad feels like you’re doing some seriously healthy eating, and it looks like summer on a plate.

My broad bean soup is pretty straightforward to make, and surprisingly substantial for a vegetable soup. If you have some really good olive oil, this is the place to use it – potato and beans will make it sing.

The pork shoulder recipe is one of my favourite ways to cook pork. Combining milk with lemon peel causes the milk to curdle into curds and whey – the outcome is a wonderfully rich, almost caramelised sauce that perfectly complements both the pork and beans. It may seem an odd coupling (and let’s be honest, it’s no oil painting), but trust me, it’s divine.

    Ever For Health Copy Rights 2013