Saturday, 20 June 2009
Beautifully green podded Broad Beans are in season and at their peak right now. I love them. In America you might know them as Fava Beans.
You need to buy broad beans that are as fresh as possible. The pods should be bright in colour and crisp. Don't bother if they are limp and tired looking, or if they feel soft with pockets of air inside.
Unless they are really young and tender, you will have to remove the beans from the pods, as the pods will be unedible. Put the beans in a pan, cover with boiling water, return to the boil and cook for 3-5 minutes. Then drain, empty into cold water, slit each pod along its seam and run your thumb along the furry inside to push the beans out. I really don't like the tough outer skin that covers each of the little beans, and so I always double pod them by taking a fingernail and slitting that outer skin open and slipping the tender sweet bright green bean inside . . . out! It can be a fiddly and time consuming job, especially if you are preparing a lot of them, but it is well worth the effort in my opinion. The beans will then be ready to re-heat gently with some butter and a bit of salt and black pepper, or to use in another recipe, such as the delicious one I have here today.
I loved this and could have made a meal of this alone.
*Baked Potatoes with Broad Beans, Rocket and Blue Cheese*
Imagine a tasty baked potato, it's skin all crispy and split open . . . topped with a delicious blue cheese sauce stogged full of fresh broad beans and tasty rocket. This is wonderfully delicious!
4 large baking potatoes
300g broad beans
1/3 cup cream
4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
4 handfuls or rocket, chopped
Pre-heat the oven to 200*C/400*F. Wash the potatoes, and while still damp, rub them all over with a little coarse salt. Prick them several times with a fork and then place them into the oven, sitting them directly onto the oven rack. (This will help their skins to become really nice and crisp) Bake for 1 hour, then check by squeezing them gently, to see if they are done. If they are done they will yield slightly. If they are still hard, then bake them for another 15 minutes and try again.
Cook the broad beans in some lightly salted boiling water for 3 minutes. Drain well and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking. Drain well again. Slip off the outer grey skins by using your nail to slit open the skin and then popping the bright green bean out. Discard the outer grey skin. Set aside the beans.
Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium low heat. Add the broad beans and cook them gently for several minutes. Add the blue cheese and the rocket. Stir everything together and cook until the rocket has wilted.
Take your cooked potatoes and cut a cross in one side of each and squeeze the potatoes around the middle until they open up. Place each on a heated plate. Spoon some of the broad bean mixture over the top of each. Season with some black pepper and serve.