Last Updated on March 8, 2021
The weather in London has definitely had a touch of spring about it the last few days. Spring is my favourite time of year, it brings me hope for the summer ahead, more crucial than ever this year. It also spurs me on to undertake some ubiquitous spring cleaning which inevitably starts off with an epic freezer defrost. I say epic because there are always some surprises to be found in the depths of said freezer. And it requires some creative thinking to concoct tasty dishes from ingredients that, let’s be honest, you’ve probably been avoiding using for months.
My inspiration today was a bag of frozen broad beans. In my mind they are a handy thing to have in the freezer, though the reality is I rarely seem to use them even though I do love their flavour and vibrant greenness. I often order them in restaurants but rarely seem to prepare them at home. Easily rectified!
Also known as fava beans, they have a silver screen claim to fame as mentioned in one of my all-time favourite films The Silence of the Lambs. Serial killer Hannibal Lector (brilliantly played by Anthony Hopkins) comments about a census taker: “I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.”
My pairing choices would be considerably less gruesome, obviously, and wide-ranging as they are a versatile bean that goes well with many a dish. This simple broad bean recipe is great served as a side and goes brilliantly with pretty much any type of fish, chicken, pork or lamb. The puree works well as a dip, too, served with fresh crudites or warm, sliced flatbread. And it’s quick and easy to make with only four ingredients.
I peel off the outer skin of the beans to reveal the softer, greener centre. Then blanch the beans in boiling water for two minutes before draining and rinsing well with cold water. This ensures the beans retain their lovely bright colour.
Once you have drained your beans return them to the pan and heat through. Add the butter, mint and cream, plus a pinch of sea salt and a grind of black pepper. Use a hand blender to blend the mixture in the pan. You can make it as smooth as you prefer – I like a puree with a bit of texture.
Serve with your choice of fish or meat or as a party dip with crudites and a selection of crisps.
Here’s a printable version of my broad bean recipe for you to try. Looking for party food inspiration? Why not try these delicious Vietnamese Spring Rolls.
Broad Bean Puree
- Hand blender
- 500 g broad beans frozen, defrosted and peeled
- 20 g butter softened
- 40 ml single cream
- Handful fresh mint leaves chopped
- Blanch the broad beans in boiling water for 2 mins. Drain and rinse with cold water.
- Return the beans to the pan, warm and add the butter, cream and chopped mint leaves. Season with salt and pepper.
- Blend using a hand blender to required consistency. Serve as a side with your choice of fish or meat or as a dip with crudites and crisps.