Saturday, July 4, 2009

Broad Bean Salad


Last weekend some dear friends came to supper. Iris arrived at the door first - in her hot fingers a gorgeous wild flower posy all bound with pink wool. Natalie and Paul struggled in behind her, laden down with a basket full of home grown produce, a bag of herb salad, huge bunch of beetroot greens that took over the fridge and  an armful of new broad beans in their pods. All too soon we were gobbling strawberries for dessert and waving goodbye, as they strolled home with Iris tucked under a felt blanket.

The next day I planned to do justice to those lovely beans and find out whether my tummy was ready for them or not. It's been well over a year since I've eaten broad beans as they are too starchy for SCD. However, I figured that these peachy specimens were so new that they were more like peas and definitely worth the risk.

As I worked my way through the bag of pods I began to doubt that the pale beans which popped out, would feed my family unaided. When I had steamed and slipped them out of their skins, my suspicions were confirmed. The compost was going to do well out of this as the mound of pods far exceeded the small quantity of beans that peeped out expectantly from the large bowl I had set them in.

Liberated from their pods and skins, those tiny emerald green beans shone with life. Beans this new are like the fleeting appearance of elderflower or the first rhubarb - like the short asparagus season which is over and gone before you have had a chance to cram in enough of the stuff, and you wish you had ignored that voice telling you it was not okay to eat it at every meal - dripping in hot butter. 

I ran to the garden to gather some mint and peered into the fridge for inspiration. Hmmm...

Not much later, I was stirring up a minty, creamy salad and scattering chives happily over it. A whole bowlful of salad - enough for three at least.

Try making this if you too find that you have just a few of the newest broad beans (or even just a few bigger ones) - but not enough for supper. Nobody will know that you didn't start out intending to make it that way.

And how did my tummy react? It was just fine. I wouldn't recommend eating baby broad beans unless you are symptom free, but if you are then a handful probably won't hurt you. French beans or young runner beans, (steamed whole and then refreshed with cold water and sliced into pieces) would be a good SCD substitution for broad beans.

Baby Broad Bean Salad (serves 4-6 as a side)

8oz broad beans (podded weight)

8 oz frozen peas or petit pois

1 cucumber peeled and de-seeded

a very large handful of mint

a grating of lemon zest

a heaped dessert spoon of creamy yogurt

a heaped dessert spoon of home made mayonnaise (or good quality bought)

a good squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Bunch of chives, washed and chopped

Steam the broad beans until just done - the skins should just start to split. Plunge into cold water and slip the skins off when cold. Put into the salad bowl.

Steam the peas and refresh in cold water, drain well and add to the bowl

Chop the peeled and de-seeded cucumber into small dice and add to the bowl.

Finely chop the mint and add to the bowl along with all the other ingredients except half the chives.

Taste for mintiness, lemoniness and yogurtiness and add more of anything if needed. I don't add salt to this, but if you like it then add some now.

Put in a pretty bowl and sprinkle over the chives - if you have some chive or nasturtium flowers they would look gorgeous too.