Saturday, 22 June 2013

Hugely versatile broad bean and herb salad

I love recipes you rustle up from what you have in the fridge, freezer and storecupboard. It lends a creative edge to cooking that you never get when you've gone out to buy exactly the right ingredients for a recipe.

I bought some tongue from Hobbs House butchery when I was there for a cookery course yesterday and was thinking what would go well with it. Salsa verde would have been a good accompaniment if you were serving it hot so why not, I wondered, use some of those flavours in a salad?

Broad beans are in season but you know what? They're expensive to buy and incredibly labour-intensive to prepare with larger beans needing to be skinned so I used a pack of frozen broad beans I had in the freezer. I added a couple of spring onions, sweated off in a little olive oil, some chopped gherkins and juice from the pickle jar and some chopped parsley and mint (very important the mint) and bingo!

I can think of a few good variations (see below) but in the meantime try this as your base:

Serves 2-3

250g frozen (or fresh podded broad beans if you grow them yourself)
3 tbsp olive oil
half a bunch of spring onions, trimmed and sliced
about 5-6 gherkins, finely chopped + some juice from the pickle jar
2 heaped tbsp freshly chopped parsley
1 heaped tbsp freshly chopped mint
Salt and pepper, preferably white

Bring a pan of water to the boil, salt and cook the broad beans for about 3 minutes until tender. Drain and rinse in cold water. Heat the oil and cook the onions gently until soft. Tip in the broad beans, finely chopped gherkins and herbs, season with salt and white pepper. Either eat as a veg (it would be great with roast lamb) or a warm salad with cold meats or cheeses (see below)

What else you could add. (Here's where it gets interesting):

*Some roughly crumbled goats or young sheeps cheese and a little grated lemon rind

* Give it a Spanish twist by adding some chopped chorizo when you fry off the onion - or add some shreds or serrano ham. I'd probably be inclined to leave out the mint in this case

* Add some steamed or boiled new potatoes, dice them and add them to turn it into a ritzed-up potato salad.

There are probably other possibilities. Any thoughts?


Martin P Lam said...

we do them [ peeled of course] in similar way, with addition of grilled chunks of globe artichoke- classic spring combo in Turkey, as well as some very fresh Neals Yard goat curd.

Fiona Beckett said...

That would be lovely. Also thinking it would go well with ham sliced off the bone, smoked chicken, salmon . . .

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