Sunday, 11 October 2009
Beans on toast
So I've always thought I didn't like broad beans. As a child my parents would cook them whole, pods and all, as an approximation of the Indian vegetable sheem. They would chew through them and then just delicately spit out the really indigestible, fibrous bits. As with their chomping through fish bones, this was just something that I could never manage to do, and therefore broad beans in an Bengali-stylee were pretty much off the menu for me.
However even when the beans had been podded I found these tough, grey bullet-like objects rather off-putting. It's only quite recently that I've come across the revelatory knowledge that post-cooking the unappealing grey skin of the broad bean can be removed to leave a tender, bright green bean. This might seem a bit of a pain but it is so worth it. This recipe for crushed broad beans on toasted ciabatta is based on how I'd normally serve any whole beans or peas, but converted into a more spreadable form. It works well at room temperature or slightly warm, and would also make a nice side dish for fish. If you're having it on toast, a grating of cheese adds a little salty tang to the sweet crushed beans.
Recipe (enough for two):
Broad beans from approximately twenty pods
1 fat clove of garlic (or increase according to taste)
Enough olive to create a loose-ish paste
Plenty of salt and pepper
Grana padano cheese, grated
Cook the podded broad beans in boiling water for around eight minutes or until tender. Drain and then while still hot, peel off the outer grey skins. Combine the beans and the rest of the ingredients in a mini-processor, or crush by hand, until they are as coarse or fine as you like. Serve on toasted ciabatta (or crackers or anything else you'd like), and top with some of the grated cheese.
You can also use rapeseed oil instead of olive oil, and moderate the amount of garlic depending on taste and possibly how much company you have.