Broad Beans, also known as “fava beans”, have are fresh and slightly nutty-tasting. The young leaves of the plant can also be eaten either raw or cooked like spinach. Broad beans are a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C and protein.
Storage: Broad beans should be eaten within a couple of days of purchase and stored in the refrigerator. They freeze well if frozen soon after gathering.
General Use: Young beans can be used whole. As the beans become older they develop quite a tough outer skin. The easiest way to tackle this is to boil the beans lightly, then remove the skin when cool.
Salad: Peel the broad beans and place in a bowl. Add chopped tomatoes, thinly chopped onions and mix together. Sprinkle with sea salt and olive oil and gently toss.
Boiled / Steamed: Begin by snapping off one end of the pod and spitting it open to reveal the broad beans inside. Gently push your thumb down the inside of the pod and the beans will fall clear. Boil the beans for 5 minutes or steam for 7-12 minutes – the cooking time depends on the size and age of the beans, you want them to be soft and tender so test with a fork while cooking (don’t add salt or the skins tend to toughen). Drain well and place in a bowl. Drizzle the beans with a little olive oil and a smattering of sea salt and devour them.
Pasta Sauce: Sauté chopped onion, crushed garlic and fresh chopped parsley in olive oil for 5 minutes until tender. Add the broad beans and chopped asparagus and stir for 1 minute. Add hot water cook until vegetables are just tender. Add sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Meanwhile cook pasta in plenty of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and add to the sauce and stir. Drizzle with olive oil and stir in parmesan.
Pâté: Cook beans in boiling water for 5 minutes until tender. Drain, reserving the liquid. Place the beans, ground coriander, ground cumin and turmeric into a liquidiser and blend for 30 seconds. Add lemon juice and crushed garlic, thin the mixture with a little of the reserved liquid, to form a thick purée. Gradually stir in olive oil a little at a time, until the desired thickness of pâté is reached. Season to taste and serve with crudités or bread and a sprinkle of turmeric.