Broad Beans

Broad Beans with Pecorino

Cook shelled broad beans in boiling salted water until tender. Drain and peel.

Grate pecorino romano over beans; sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Sautéed Broad Beans

Sauté blanched peeled broad beans and fresh peas in olive oil until tender; season with salt.

Sprinkle with lemon zest and julienned mint.

Broad Bean Crostini

Cook shelled broad beans in boiling water until tender, drain and peel.

In food processor, puree with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Spread puree on crostini. Top with shaved Parmesan or grated pecorino romano.

Grilled Prawns with

Broad Bean Puree

In food processor, pulse together blanched peeled broad beans, olive oil, minced garlic, mint, lemon juice, salt and pepper, adding water as needed.

Toss peeled deveined prawns with lemon zest, chilli flakes and salt. Thread onto skewers and grill. Serve over broad puree.

Broad Bean &

Radish Salad

Peel broad beans and blanch in boiling water until just tender.

Toss blanched peeled broad beans and thinly sliced radishes with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Top with shaved pecorino romano or Parmesan.

Orecchiette with Broad Beans,

Morels & Pancetta

Brown diced pancetta and quartered morels* in olive oil. Add blanched peeled broad beans and minced garlic and shallot; cook briefly.

Add cream and cooked and drained orecchiette. Cook, tossing, until cream has reduced.

Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan.

(*Use rehydrated dried morels or substitute your favourite fresh wild mushroom.)

Availability

Broad beans are an early spring treat, sometimes available as early as June or July but only lasting through to about October.

Selecting

Look for soft, pale green pods packed with pale green beans. The pods should feel heavy for their size.

Preparing

Before cooking, fresh broad beans must be shelled, or removed from their pods. Shell them as you would peas by first snapping off the stem and pulling away the tough string on the side of the pod. Then pop each pod open by pressing your thumbnails along its seam. Unless they have been picked while still quite young and small, the skin that covers each shelled bean must be removed before eating, as it is tough and bitter tasting.

To remove the skins, drop the shelled beans into a pot of boiling water and blanch for 2 to 3 minutes, then drain and rinse under cold running water. Pinch each bean opposite the end where it was attached to the pod and squeeze; the bean should pop free. Use a paring knife to remove any stubborn skins.

Storing

Store the beans, still in their pods, in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to three days.