It is easy to develop an aversion to Broad Beans. Prolific bearers and easy to grow, they are an easy choice for home gardeners and country kitchen gardens. Yet the poor bean is often misunderstood. Instead of being treated tenderly, cooks mistakenly overcooked them to a green-grey mush with a strong taste only masked by other strong tasting ingredients. Unaware that each individual bean has its own skin that needs to be peeled, they were being boiled until that outer skin reached a level of tenderness – and that mean that the inner bean was overcooked.
Yes, the secret to broad beans is that they need to be double peeled. First the fury pod is removed, and then, after blanching, the skin of each bean can be easily slipped off. Young beans are preferable to their older counterparts as their flavour is gentler.
What a difference a peel makes! You might like to read more about broad beans.
This recipe can be used as a condiment, thick dip or a spread. The horseradish gives it quite a kick.
Broad and Butter Bean Spread
Source : from my original, ancient Food_Matters site
Cuisine: maybe Italian?
Prep time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 1 min
Serves: 4 – 8 people, depending how you use it
300 grams of cooked cannelloni beans (butter beans) – a can of butter beans is Ok to use
100 g shelled young broad beans (use only young beans – if the shelled beans are white in colour, they are too old)
0.5 medium onion
sea salt and black pepper, freshly ground
4 Tblspn good extra virgin olive oil
1 – 2 heaped tspn horseradish, to suit your taste
juice and rind of 1 lime or 0.5 lemon
splash verjuice, optional
2 Tblspn chopped parsley
1 clove garlic
First, briefly blanch the shelled beans in boiling water – between 10 seconds and 30 seconds will be more than enough. Drain them immediately and then peel away the thick outer skin to reveal the tender green beans. It is fiddly but worth the effort.
Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor, seasoning well. You can process a little, and leave the mash nice and chunky, or you can process until smooth and creamy. If it becomes too thick while processing, add a little more oil or warm water.
recipe notes and alternatives
Chilli could be used instead of the horseradish.
Some tahini mixed in gives it a measure of creaminess.
- Serve on toast, bruschetta, or crusty bread. And with some good cheddar cheese and olives. Or spread toast with ricotta and top with the mash.
- Or use some crackers and serve as a dip.
- Char-grill some eggplant slices, and serve, layered with the spread and accompanied by a green salad.
- Accompany a plate of roast vegetables with the spread.
- Drop a Tblspn in the centre of a bowl of creamy soup.