broad bean bruschetta
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Broad beans on toast, green, green crostini or smashed broad bean and pea bruschetta – this is a legendary dish in my house.
Broad beans bruschetta - a legendary dish
I wish I could say this recipe was mine, or Jamie Oliver’s. No – it wholly and truly belongs to The Weather Man.
One summer day several years ago, The Weather Man cooked a meal for my birthday. The main was a beef but, excellent as it was, it is the memory of the starter that lingers and, often mentioned, has become a legend.
Heston Blumenthal will always have his snail porridge, René Redzepi – his live shrimp and The Weather Man goes down in our family history as the creator of the broad bean and peas bruschetta.
Modestly, as is his nature, he attributes his dish to Jamie Oliver or perhaps BBC Good Food but I’m certain it was the other way round: word of his broad beans spread and inspired other chefs. Especially that both main ingredients in the recipe were actually grown by The Man himself in our back garden.
Whose recipe is it?
Okay – the boring truth is that he did indeed follow Jamie Oliver’s recipe but for me this will always be his dish. And finally I have managed to replicate it here, as best I remembered.
Know your broad beans
Time for a mundane note on broad beans: they are gorgeous creatures, as most vegetables at their best when new and young. Overgrown mature broad beans are really only good for mashing into the Egyptian Foul Mudammas.
Shell? Pod? Or double-pod broad beans?
When baby new, they don’t really need the double-shelling process: first out of the pods and then out of the skins when blanched. Eaten as a snack, which is my favourite way, I leave them in the skins and I eat the smaller tender ones whole, skin and all, and pop the bigger ones out if the skin is a tad tougher.
On the other hand when fresh and small, they almost jump out of their skins when boiled for a couple of minutes so it isn’t quite such a chore as you might imagine. And it pays so to see the bright vibrant kidney-shaped greenies when using them in salads instead of dull grey floppy skins.
Broad beans, peas and how to pronounce bruschetta
So whether you call it brus-K-etta (always -K-!) or crostini or even beans on toast which they are, after a fashion, it is one thing you should try every broad bean season. The peas are perfectly fine to use frozen as they are a bit player here. But beans – best and freshest, and if you’re really lucky, like me, straight from your back garden.
broad bean bruschettaServings: 2Time: 30 minutes
- 300g (10 oz.) broad beans, shelled
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 60g (½ cup) fresh or frozen peas
- 1 peeled garlic clove, mashed with ½ tsp sea salt flakes
- ½ lemon, juice and zest
- 1 tsp fresh dill, finely chopped
- 1 tsp fresh mint leaves, torn
- 1 tbsp. olive oil plus more for drizzling
- 1 tbsp. freshly grated Pecorino or Parmesan plus more if needed
- sliced bread rolls or thick baguette slices
1. Place the beans in a pan with plenty cold water, 2 tsp salt and 1 tsp sugar. Bring to the boil and cook for 5 minutes for new, baby beans and up to 15 for more mature beans, until tender-al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water.
2. When cool enough to handle, pop the beans from the skins; with baby ones it’s enough to press the skin to pop them.
3. Blanch the peas, drain and place in a mixing bowl. Smash them lightly with a fork. Add the beans and smash them even lighter, crushing just the biggest ones. Add the garlic, lemon juice and zest, dill and mint, olive oil, cheese and stir everything well. Taste for seasoning.
4. Toast the bread roll or baguette slices in a dry frying pan until crisp and browned on both sides.
5. Spoon the broad bean mix onto the toasted bread, drizzle with olive oil and serve immediately, with extra cheese on the side.