Podcast news: broad beans

September 24, 2009

broadbeanspodSaw my first fresh broad beans of the season the other day and couldn’t resist slinging a clutch into the shopping bag. Plan to have them with a little pasta for lunch today, perhaps.

I am only just learning how to eat these shiny little gemstones, but I love them. Karen Martini has an excellent recipe for linguine with tomato, prawns, peas and basil in Where the Heart Is, and I have used broad beans in addition to or in place of the peas (the secret is slightly mashing  everything, so the flavours meld rather than having the effect of separate ingredients rolling off the pasta the way lots of prawn/pasta things do).

And my buddy the Lunging Latino  introduced me to the deliciousness of very young broad beans fresh from the pod, simply dipped in very good olive oil and salt and eaten as a pre-dinner snack. (Correct, LL? Do pop in and clarify with any tips …)

But on the whole, I go in for the double-peeling. Time-consuming, but totally worth it. Just remember to buy an armful of pods, as the yield is pretty tiny. Pod the beans, blanch them in boiling salted water for a few minutes, drain and refresh in cold water, and then slip off the tough greyish skins to reveal these glossy, bright green sweeties.

broadbeansdoublepeeledAn old Steve Manfredi article here sings the praises of this buttery favourite – and he doesn’t even blanch them, but double peels when uncooked. Sounds tricky to me but I may give it a shot. He has a simple but lovely-looking recipe too for BBs with orecchiette, butter & Parmesan. Can’t go wrong.

Any other broad bean fans out there? What do you do with them? Do tell…


  1. I love them cooked in a puddle of chicken stock (not too much), flavoured with some bacon, eschallots and thyme. This can be expanded into a heartier dish by adding other vegies such as carrot and spud chunks (which of course need more cooking), then tossing in the BBs later on. Become a bit of a family favourite done that way, but they’re yummy many different ways, aren’t they!

    I grew them last year, and they really do have the loveliest white and black flowers. Probably one of the handsomest vegie plants.

  2. Excellent post Charlotte… glad you liked my style of serving. Not much to add really…the cooking time [two to four minutes] depends on quantity and youthfulness, but the iced water refresh is essential.
    I’ve got a problem with the double peel – mainly ’cause I’ve been ordered to INCREASE fibre and CUT saturated fats. But the older they get the more dedicated you have to be to eat the skins….
    I’m sure Steve Manfredi’s orichiette tastes divine but I’d use extra virgin. And on that subject I stumbled on this article
    in which Steve endorses my fave oil, Novella di Macina, a single vineyard unfiltered from Sicily. Very hard to get in Sydney but they’ve got gallons at the Mediterranean Deli in Brunswick (worth the trip). If there are any other fans out there I could investigate buying a case and seeing if they’d ship it up…

  3. Actually it’s Novello di Macina…I blame the subs.

  4. The kids at school are growing them (life cycles of living plants) and were very excited to find out that YOU CAN EAT THEM. One child was concerned they might be dirty, but when I told her they come in their own packaging, she was satisfied…

  5. […] Oils aint oils September 27, 2009 The Lunging Latino’s remarks on his fave Italian olive oil in this post here reminded me of a conversation with my friend C recently, where she declared, having read a bit on […]

  6. Just a quick comment to vote in favour of the double peel – we had the oil and salt version last night before home made pizzas, and there was no way Nanna (who probably would have preferred a triple cream cheese for starters, but is now a convert!) was going to chew through those grey skins!

    • I’m with you and Nanna, EP. Grey is not an appealing colour in anything really, from a granny’s cardie to an edible snack. And once you get past the grey, how luscious is the green? Glad to get an N-convert…

  7. […] Regular visitors to this blog will know that I am an avid fan of the legume (see here, here, here and here, just for a few […]

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