Best late June and July
In the Cookery Course I gave a recipe for very young broad beans in their pods; Baby Broad Beans in Parsley Sauce in fact the beans are hardly formed and the finger-thick pods are delicious. If you grow broad beans , or know someone who does it's worth giving it a try. However, the beans themselves later on 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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