Last broad bean recipe for the season I think. They are all just about finished – this weekend I should get around to harvesting the last of them and cutting off the plants. Broad beans are legumes and like all legumes, they are symbiotic with a rhizobia that can grab nitrogen out of the air and “fix” it in a nitrogen compound that the legume can then use to make protein. Which broad beans do really well – they’re one of the highest protein sources in plants (along with complex low GI carbs, fibre, vitamins, potassium, iron and l- dopa ).
I’ll cut them off rather than pull them and follow with a nitrogen lover like zucchini. The plants have a huge root system covered in nitrogen fixing nodules. Although most of the nitrogen will have gone to the beans (and thus to us!) there’s still enough in the residual to be a good fertilizer hit. And quite apart from the nitrogen, it’s good organic matter already dug in.
We ate this batch just as is, just the two of us, arguing about whether the chili dipping sauce or the yoghurt, mint and garlic dipping sauce was better. But really the perfect way to serve is with pita bread, tabouli, and both sauces, in which case this would be plenty for four for dinner. (Although, having said that, there is a lot to be said for simple, one dish dinners where you just get to really appreciate one thing).
It’s fastest in a pressure cooker, but a pot with a tight lid is fine.
Saute an onion, diced, in a good swig of olive oil. When the onion is starting to brown, add
- four (or more) cloves of garlic, crushed,
- 1½ cups of shelled (not double-peeled) broad beans
- a cup of water,
- juice of half a lemon
- a grinding of black pepper
- and a good pinch of salt
Bring to pressure and pressure cook for 5 minutes, or put the lid on and simmer for 10 minutes watching it at the end. Take the lid off and continue to cook to reduce until there is virtually no liquid in the pot.
Tip the broad bean mix into a food processor and add:
- 1 egg
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- a thick slice of wholemeal or multigrain bread
You can add a bit of chili powder too if you like it spicy, but I think it is better with the chili as a dipping sauce.
Pulse till it is a thick batter. Add more bread or a little flour if you need to to make it thick enough to hold its shape (like peanut butter thickness). Then add:
- a cup (packed) of mixed parsley, coriander, mint and spring onion
Pulse again just briefly to chop up the herbs but not blend them into a paste. You want the herbs to have a bit of texture.
Put a couple of spoonfuls of flour on a plate. With wet hands shape spoonfuls of the mixture into little footballs and roll them in flour, just enough to stop them sticking together.
Shallow fry in hot olive oil in a heavy pan for a few minutes until golden.