Broad beans

 Broad beans Key facts Native to North Africa and south east Asia, this bean is also known as the fava bean;along with lentils and chickpeas, broad beans were part of the eastern Mediterranean diet 6000 BC; broad beans form the national dish of Egypt, ful medames, which is even eaten for breakfast!

Season: Best late June and July
If you grow broad beans , or know someone who does, try cooking the very young broad beans in their pods; the beans are hardly formed and the finger-thick pods are delicious.

However, later on the beans themselves have much to offer. If they’re young and tender, just steam them for about 3 minutes; if they’re a bit older, boiling is best as it softens and tenderises the skin –add salt, barely cover with boiling water and give them 3-4 minutes.

Older broad beans, when quite large, can be blanched in boiling water for 1 minute, then drained and, when cool enough, the skins slipped off. As you do this they will split in 2, then you can finish cooking them in steam till tender – 2-3 minutes.

Broad beans have a wonderful affinity with boiled ham and gammon steaks, and partnered with pancetta (Italian cured bacon) they make a brilliant salad. 1 lb (450 g) of broad beans in the pod will serve 2.

 
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