All the cold winter mornings we have spent working in the orto, sowing the broad beans are finally paying of. Right now we are harvesting kilos a day - so if you do not like this amazing veggie - don't stop by this time of year - you will get it.
The broad bean is an amazing plant - easy to sow, doesn't need water and it is actual works a natural fertilizer - leaving a better soil to plant the next batch of veggies like tomatoes, cavolo nero or salads. But the main prize is the abundance of succulent beans, that we can use in the kitchen for so many dishes. We eat them raw with pecorino and salt, we use them in salads, in riso or pasta or we braise them in milk and sage for a really savory condiment for pasta or on bruschetta - and the broad bean is also one of the stars in the roman vegetable stew Vignole - together with peas, asparagus, artichokes, prosciutto and mint.....
One of the easiest and most tasty way we serve them and always teach - is smashed in a psttle and mortar with loads of parmignano, mint and olive oil..... give is a try - great on crostini, but also with a piece of fried fish.
Here the pure of beans are joined by ricotta and nettle + baccala mantecato.....
2 kg fresh broad beans, podded
2 cloves of garlic , cut in half
50 g parmesan, grated
handful of fresh mint, chopped
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and black pepper
6 slices of a good loaf of bread
Bring a sauce pan with water to the boil together with the garlic. When boiling add the beans and blanch for 30 sec to 1 minute depending on the size of the beans. Drain and refresh under cold water.
Shake of water and place the beans in your mortar. Depending on the size, you might want to smash the beans in batches.
With the pestle , smash the beans into a rough puree, add the parmesan and mix well. Pour in olive oil until you have a creamy consistency.
Don't make the puree too fine, you will want some structure left in it. Season with lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Scoop onto freshly grilled crostini or bruschetta.... summer here we come...