One of my favourite fresh tastes of summer is broad beans. If you are really lucky and you can get them when they are very young and tender, you can cook them pods and all for a truly delicious taste treat.
Normally though you can only find them when they are a bit older and so they have to be podded. I am not overly fond of the grey/green outer skin on the beans though, so I like to double pod them. This can be a bit fiddly, but trust me when I say that it's well worth the effort taken, which reveals the deliciously tender little jewel within.
Not so hard to do really, just fiddly. Begin by blanching your podded beans for one minute in boiling water. Remove to ice water to chill down quickly. Drain and them using your fingernail, snip off one end of the grey/green outer skin and push the little green bean inside out with your other fingers. A bit fiddly, but like I said, more than worth the effort.
I saw this tasty recipe in the Sunday magazine of the Sunday Telegraph several weeks ago and immediately ear marked it. It looked impressive, and yet simple at the same time.
I was right.
*Pork Cutlet with Broad Beans, Wild Mushrooms and Sage*
Serves 2 - 3
If you're looking for a delicious meal, using simple ingredients, yet special enough to make a good impression on someone, look no further. This fits the bill on all counts. Adapted from the Telegraph on Sunday magazine
500g broad beans
1 large pork cutlet (2 bones)
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
1 bunch sage, leaves separated from the stems (keep the stems)
2 shallots, chopped
200g wild mushrooms**
2 Cox apples, peeled and diced fairly small
250ml good quality chicken stock
Blanch the broad beans in plenty of boiling salted water for a minute. Immedately drain and plunge into ice water to stop them from cooking any further. Remove the tough outer shells and set aside.
Pre-heat the oven to 160*C/350*F.
Heat a large casserole that is fit for cooking both on top of the stove and in the oven, over medium high heat. Add a little olive oil and a knob of butter. Season the pork well. Add to the pan and caramelize it on all sides, until golden brown. Remove and set aside. Add the carrot and onion to the drippings. Cook and stir for two minutes. Add the sage stalks, then place the pork back into the pan, on top of the vegetables. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 20 minutes, or until the the temperature of the meat reads 160*F for medium or 170*F for well done. Remove the pork from the casserole and set aside to rest.
Remove and discard the vegetables from the pan. Place the casserole back onto medium heat and add another knob of butter and the shallots and sage leaves. Cook until soft. Add the mushrooms. Cook until soft. Add the apples and cover with the chicken stock. Bring to the boil, then season. Add another knob of butter to thicken the sauce, and finish by adding the broad beans. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Serve with new potatoes if desired.
**Note: I could not find any wild mushrooms in my local shop when I went to make this, so used a mixture of crimini and white button mushrooms, which worked very well.
The first three images are from Tastes of Summer.