So… at the beginning of the CSA season, I really was not excited at the thought of a Spring/Early Summer filled with week after week of broad beans. In fact, you could say broad beans and I were not friends. I’m happy to report that this has all changed, thanks in large part to the recipe that follows, and though broad bean season has ended for 2012 I am now a complete convert and eagerly anticipate next Spring!
Smashed Broad Beans on Toast
A lovely recipe from Jamie Oliver’s Jamie at Home: Cook Your Way to the Good Life adapted to suit my taste buds… the original recipe has peas in it, but after trying it both with and without, I’ve decided I prefer it without. Also, shelling and then peeling the broad beans might just do your head in… I ended up in an almost meditative trance each time I had to go through the process … but trust me – it’s WORTH it!!!
- 1kg fresh broad beans in their pods (about 400g shelled weight)
- small bunch of fresh mint (thick stalks removed)
- Sea salt and Freshly ground black pepper
- 50g finely grated parmesan
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 4 slices ciabatta
- 1 clove of garlic, unpeeled, cut in half
- 2 large balls of buffalo mozzarella cheese, torn in half
Pod the broad beans. Boil any larger white-skinned broad beans for 30 seconds, then drained. When cool, pinch their skins off – they’ll taste less bitter if you do this.
Next, in a pestle and mortar (or pulsing in a food processor) bash up the mint leaves with the broad beans and a pinch of salt. Crush to a thick green paste.
Mash in a few tablespoons of EVOO to make the paste really gorgeous and spreadable. Stir in the parmesan. If the mixture is a bit stiff, add a little more oil to loosen it. Add about three-quarters of the lemon juice. Have a taste and see what you think. If necessary, add more lemon juice. You want the richness of the parmesan and oil to balance with the freshness of the beans and mint. Season with more salt and pepper to taste.
Toast the bread on both sides in a hot frying pan. Rub each slice twice only (very important) with the cut side of the garlic and top with the smashed broad beans and half a ball of mozzarella.
Jamie makes a suggestion that the paste would be super-yummy mixed in with some sort of pasta (pappardelle or maybe fettucine) – I totally agree and will definitely give it a go next Spring!