Broad Bean & Pea Salad
If you are using broad beans, either fresh or frozen, it is really important to peel off their coats. Cover them in boiling water for a few minutes and they will come off very easily. The effort is worth it, as the beans look beautiful and taste delicious. However, if you are short of time, use soya beans. I don’t bother to cook either kind of bean, nor indeed the peas.
250g fresh or frozen broad beans, skins removed
150g frozen peas
a handful of mint leaves
zest of 2 lemons
1 garlic clove, crushed
250g good mozzarella or – even better – burrata
6 slices of Parma ham (the cheapest you can find) or pancetta
50g shelled pistachios, toasted and chopped\
salt and pepper
Mix the beans and peas together and, if frozen, leave them to defrost.
Pat them dry and mix with the mint and lemon zest, garlic, some olive oil and seasoning.
Arrange on a serving plate with the torn mozzarella or the burrata.
Cook the Parma ham in a hot oven until it is very crispy. Then crumble it up and scatter it and the pistachios all over the top of the salad.
I hate throwing anything away and one day, confronted by a whole bowlful of broad bean skins and with time to spare, I decided to see if I could transform them into something edible. Throw a handful or so of flour into the bowl of bean skins and mix it all up with a little water. Deep fry the bean skins in small batches in sunflower oil until they are brown and crispy and then sprinkle them with salt and a bit of chilli powder. Rather to my surprise they are very good with a glass of wine before supper, and although they are rather time consuming, they can be made hours in advance.