Sometimes we forget that Simple is Better. I do say that a lot, because sometimes we forget. As I write Nigella Lawson is being savaged for her “too simple” new cookbook. It is difficult to understand – Jamie Oliver didn’t face the same criticism with his 30 Minute Meals, 15 Minute Meals, or meals with just 5 ingredients. But we really have become used to complicated food – Ottolenghi, for example. His beautiful food cannot be called simple. Master Chef dishes are mind bogglingly complex. We all want to be Iron Chefs.
I *love* to get back to basics. Simple food, simply cooked, banging with uncomplicated flavours where the ingredient shines. Grilled Peppers with Olive Oil. A plate of Olives. Crumbled Feta. Cucumbers with Rice Vinegar. Green Beans with Garlic. A plate of Spinach. Yoghurt with Cumin. Crusty Bread. Grilled Eggplants. Steamed Potatoes. The list goes on and on. So today, this is a reminder that salt and pepper is often all that is needed.
The recipe today is a Broad Bean Salad, simple style. We add a second salad that takes the minimalistic version and adds olive oil, lemon juice and feta. It too is delicious without being overly complicated.
Both are great additions to a tapas spread or a mezze plate. They even make a great afternoon snack.
Other Broad Bean dishes to try are Orecchiette with Broad Beans, Broad Beans with Feta and Preserved Lemon, Young Broad Bean Pod Puree, Broad Beans with Crispy Garlic, Broad Bean Salad with Tomato and Thyme, and Glorious Five Bean Salad.
Broad Beans Mezze | Salad of Broad Beans with Sea Salt and Black Pepper
Remove young broad beans from their pod. You need enough to make a big pile on a platter. Steam the broad beans, refresh them under cold water to keep the bright green colour, and then remove the peels from each bean. (If the beans are home-grown and really young, you may not need to peel each bean.)
Sprinkle with seas salt and cracked black pepper. Toss and arrange on the platter. You can add a drop of extra virgin olive oil if you must.
Broad Beans with Feta and Dill
Cook the broad beans as above, and season with salt and pepper. Then add a glug of extra virgin olive oil, the juice of half a small lemon (or to taste), and crumbled soft sheep or goat’s feta. Toss and garnish with fresh dill sprigs.