My first – ahem – lot of about six broad beans was crying out to be picked this week, so pick I did. Not exactly a bounty, as you can see! So it wasn’t worth trying to make them the star of a meal, just yet. Instead, I just podded them, cooked the beans in their jackets for about 4 minutes in well-salted boiling water, refreshed in ice-cold water, then slipped the little emeralds out of their grey coats. I served them, drizzled with olive oil, alongside a saute of chorizo, new potatoes, cavalo nero, green peas and sparkling white new season garlic, with a splash of sherry and a bit of smoked paprika. A salad of rocket, pear and parmesan rounded it out.
The beans may not be cropping heavily just yet, but on the upside, there were three things from my garden in this meal – the broad beans, cavalo nero and rocket. And most nights these past few weeks, I’ve been able to use at least a few things that have just been plucked from the earth. A proud little amateur gardener, am I.
A note on overcoming a broad bean aversion : My broad-bean obsessed mum would’ve been proud of me growing to like these little jewels, because I refused to eat them as a child (and as a teen, and for most of my adult life thus far…). I think I’d for the most part been presented them with their coats on (waste not, want not!). And they’re an entirely different, completely agreeable being when shed of that slightly bitter, sulphuric shell. So, even if you only have a small number of beans and you think they’ll look silly, like a little scrap of something green on the plate – do it, get them undressed.
Oh, and in case you’re confused, the title of this piece refers to the American name for broad beans, ‘fava’ beans. If I recall rightly, Hannibal Lecter liked them, along with a chianti, to accompany liver.