Spring Salads and Vegetables

Raw broad bean bruschetta

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Broad beans have been eaten in Britain since the Bronze Age. I imagine the pleasures of sitting with a large basket and popping the firm beans from their downy pods were as enjoyable then as they are now. The secret is to find beans that are still young – before the skin becomes pale – when they taste good even eaten raw.

This dip or spread (however you want to use it) is an easy way to make a few beans go a long way. Serve on toast with a  slice of prosciutto or salami to accompany.

Serves 4 as a starter.

This recipe originally appeared in House and Garden magazine.

Ingredients

  • 700g broad beans (weight in their pods)
  • 50g grated pecorino
  • 1tbsp lemon juice
  • 4tbsp olive oil
  • handful of mint leaves.

To serve:

  • 4 slices sourdough bread
  • 1 garlic clove

Instructions

  • Pod the beans, keeping aside any that are larger than your thumbnail
  • Cook the larger beans and half of the smaller ones in boiling, salted water for 2 minutes, drain and refresh under cold water. Leave the other half raw.
  • Slip the skins off the larger ones, if desired (this provides a texture and colour variation) but you don’t have to do this.
  • Mash all the beans, cooked and raw, together in a pestle and mortar (or food processor) with salt, pepper, grated pecorino, lemon juice, olive oil and torn mint leaves.
  • Serve on toasted sourdough, lightly rubbed with a clove of garlic.

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