Necessity is the mother of invention, and having a garden full of different peas and beans means the creative streak is at peak these days! Broad Beans, or Fava Beans, are top of the menu at the moment. Serve them up with a nice Chianti, or some Feta – like in this simple salad!
I grew up eating Broad Beans – and hated them. But that was because we never did the double-podding – we were all about maximum fibre in our house, so the pods came off but the skins stayed on. Being an adult has at least some advantages, in that now I am prepared to sacrifice a small amount of additional food prep time to pod and skin my broad beans and the rewards are worth it.
Sweet, nutty, grassy Broad, or Fava Beans, especially when they are medium sized in their pods, are just wonderful eaten raw. But if this doesn’t sit right with you, (or if you are someone partial to a bit of gustatory fluctuation when it comes to beans), a quick blanch for a mere minute should help you get around this!
So aside from the time taken to double-pod your beans, the rest of this salad will be ready in about five minutes. I served it up with some Ras al Hanout spiced and BBQ’s chicken thighs with some potatoes and leaves from the garden too, but this also works well as a topping for sourdough crostini.
Ingredients (serves 2, scales up easily):
- 2 or 3 large handfuls of Broad Beans in their pods
- 125 g Feta cheese
- 25 g pine nuts, toasted (you could also use flaked almonds)
- 1 spring onion, trimmed and finely sliced on the round
- 1 tsp sumac
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Sea Salt, Black Pepper
- 1 tsp of lemon zest and juice from 1/4 of a lemon
- Handful of herbs, roughly chopped: oregano and chive work well.
- Remove the beans from their pods, remove the skin. If the beans are small to medium sized and sweet, they can be eaten raw. Any bigger and I would recommend blanching for about a minute before refreshing in iced water. If the thought of eating raw beans isn’t for you, whatever the size of the bean, then do this too!
- Drain the beans, place into a bowl.
- Crumble over the feta cheese, add the spring onion.
- Toast the pine nuts (or flaked almonds) in a dry pan. Set aside to cool slightly.
- Sprinkle the Sumac over the beans and feta. Add a small pinch of sea salt (the feta will already be salty), and a grind of black peppercorns.
- Add the lemon zest and juice and a generous glug of EVO (about 1 tablespoon). Chuck in the herbs.
- Mix all together and serve.
Enjoy…with a nice glass of Chianti, maybe. Fuhfuhfuhfuhfuhfuh…!