As I'm still camera-less I'm using this picture from a year ago that I never got around to posting, but seasons coming around full circle as seasons do it seemed a fitting time to post this bruschetta recipe that uses fresh broad beans and peas.
I started tailgating the grow-your-own bandwagon last year and I managed to harvest just enough broad beans and peas from my growbag to make a bruschetta lunch for one. This year I'm hanging on for dear life to the side rail and my balcony is littered with terracotta pots, plastic tubs, window boxes and even old vegetable crates. Basically if it stands still for longer than five minutes I'll punch holes in the bottom and fill it with dirt.
I've done a little more research and have planted things that are more suited to life in a pot. There are peas and beans again but dwarf varieties this time. Now I can only hope for a little sunshine and perhaps when released from their 15 tog pods there might be enough broad beans to make lunch for two. The peas have to be sacrificed to my daughter who just sits out on the balcony eating them out of the pod. If you'll forgive the Birds Eye moment I love that she can get a taste of summer in the country while living in the Limerick suburbs, so if it means having to pay for the peas that is okay with me.
I also wouldn't hesitate to use frozen veg for this recipe though you will lose out on the smugness factor of how few food metres your lunch travelled. Incidentally if you are thinking of hopping on that bandwagon it's still not too late to get planting for the summer (maybe some lettuce, courgettes and tomatoes). Just remember that it does become deeply addictive and as with all things fashionable it is only a matter of time before the earthworm turns and your guests may begin to resent dinner table conversation about your new source of premium grade farmyard manure. And they certainly don't need to know that it was that same manure that produced a bumper crop of broad beans for their bruschetta starter.
BROAD BEAN AND PEA BRUSCHETTA
- 300g podded broad beans and peas (or use frozen)
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- handful of mint, chopped
- 4 slices good crusty bread (sourdough or ciabatta)
- 1 garlic clove, peeled but left whole
- pecorino or parmesan cheese shavings
- handful of pea shoots (optional)
- If the broad beans are large cook them in boiling water for 2 minutes before adding the peas and boiling them for a further 3 minutes. If you are lucky enough to get the broad beans when they are tiny just cook them with the peas for 3 minutes. Drain the vegetables, refresh under cold water to stop them from cooking any further and drain again. Peel the broad beans from their skins.
- Use a masher or a fork to roughly crush the peas and beans with the olive oil and lemon juice, then stir through the mint. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Heat a griddle pan and toast the bread on both sides (you could of course use a regular grill or toaster but you won't get those trendy chargrill lines), then rub the toast with the garlic clove. Serve two slices of bread per person (one if it's a starter) with the beans piled on top and the cheese and pea shoots (if using) scattered over. Drizzle with a little extra olive oil to serve.
Serves 4 as a starter or 2 as a light lunch.
P.S. Pea shoots have become a popular (and highly nutritious) addition to summer salads but I certainly haven't seen them in the supermarkets in Ireland. You can grow them yourself in a propogating tray or window box by sowing pea seeds generously in about six inches of compost, covering them with another inch of soil. Cover them and leave to germinate somewhere warm and once germinated remove the lid and move to a sunny windowsill. You can harvest them when they reach 2 inches high. Because they grow so quickly I'm sure you could keep replanting them to give you a steady supply throughout the summer.