I’ve been (fairly) accused of not posting much veggie stuff. All the baking stuff is veggie of course…..hmmm so basically I post veggie stuff HEAPS. Anyway if you’re vegan this won’t be much good for you as it includes ricotta but if you’re just a nice, normal veggie or indeed a massive, raging meat-lover, then these little bites will make your face happy and your intestines efficient.
Broad beans are the enemy for most of us, or at least as children. Actually I must say I was never asked to eat them as children as we rarely had to eat anything my mum didn’t like (she mostly likes chocolate, nectarines, lemons, and toasted ham and cheese, which I also mostly like) and she definitely doesn’t like these. I’d always heard of them as horrid things and had never tried them till recently. You MUST pod them and you MUST put up with the feral reek whilst they boil for the requisite period of time, but you’ll be rewarded with a meagre serve of quite delicious greenness.
I stole this idea from Ottolenghi after a visit to his Nopi restaurant about a year ago. I am probably making it so wrong but even my version is delish.
Get yourself some broad beans, a pot of ricotta, some ciabatta, seasoning, lemon and some fresh mint.
Oh, and olive oil. Nice stuff. If you get nasty olive oil SHAME ON YOU.
There’s a trick to podding broad beans. It’s not very complex. I have marvellously dextrous fingers (comes from years of plaiting horse-manes) but even you with your big fish-finger sized lumpy fingers will be able to do this. Snap off the top and pull the long stringy bit down and away. Then just put some pressure on the sides of the long bean and run your thumb down.
It’ll open up like the greased thighs of of a suckling pig.
You’ll see here the contents of podded beans from one whole packet. Not much, eh.
I podded two packets.
Rinse in the colander, under some nice cold water and throw into salted, boiling water for about 8 mins for beans of this size, or 5 mins or so for smaller ones.
Drain and rinse again under some cold water to stop them cooking.
They’ll look like the leathery testicles of an ancient donkey. Fear not.
With a fingernail, or a small paring knife if you’ve bitten your nails to stubs, nick a hole in the leathery testicular-ish skin. Then put a little pressure on the bean and out will pop, from the death-grey pod, some green beans, looking all young and fresh.
Throw them in a bowl. Keep going. It’ll take a little while so don’t hurry it and ponder something deep. I believe I did a bit of thinking about maths homework. I came to the conclusion that I still hadn’t finished it.
Now season the beans to taste, add a good dollop of olive oil and a handful of finely chopped mint. Also squeeze in some lemon juice to taste. Mix through.
Slice your ciabatta and toast properly on one side, under the grill, and then toast the other side till it just starts to get crispy but no more. Rub some cut garlic over the less-toasted side and drizzle over some olive oil. Spoon on the ricotta (a good teaspoon per slice) and pile on the beans.
Eat. Feel well sophisticated. Use a piece of kitchen towel as a napkin. Fall back down to earth.