I admit it. I have had an aversion to broad beans since childhood. We seem to have grown them by the bushel as I was growing up, and we ate them with every meal, often in their pods, boiled and boiled and boiled. Over the ensuing years I have tried to fall in love with them. I have even grown them myself. But that taste, and the childhood associations would not go away.
This year, with a wonderful Italian green grocery near me, I resolved to try again. Putting a lot of effort into treating them properly, I double peeled them while watching TV in the evenings, ready to work with them in the morning.
The efforts have been rewarded. I am now loving these wonderful, short-seasoned beans. I will be quite sad when their season is over (but I have discovered that frozen broad beans are available, and they are particularly good).
Larger or older Broad Beans need to be peeled. That is, they are first removed from the pod, of course, and then each bean has their thick outer shell removed. This seems like a lot of work, but once you are on a roll, it happens quickly. I use a small, sharp knife to knick the outer skin, then a quick peel and the inner bean pops out. The inner bean is much gentler in taste, very delicious.
I love pan fried broad beans, so if the beans are a little older, after double peeling them I through them into a hot pan with a tiny bit of oil and saute them until just beginning to colour.
Alternatively you can cover them with boiling water for a few minutes. They can also be simmered for a moment or two.
Pan Fried Broad Bean Salad with Tomato and Thyme
Mixed halved cherry tomatoes, thin rings of red onion and a few thyme leaves, then stir through some quickly sauteed broad beans. Dress with a little olive oil and lemon juice with salt and black pepper. Toss through the smallest amount of chopped parsley if desired.
recipe notes and alternatives
Use cumquat oil for the dressing if you have some on hand.
I have used home made pomegranate molasses for the dressing and the slight sweetness in it works well with the salad.
Spring onion (scallions) can be used in place of the red onion.
Lime juice can be used instead of lemon juice in the dressing.