Warm salad of baby broad bean pods, grilled cherry tomatoes and feta
Ingredients to serve 2 as a starter
Thursday 14 May 2009
10 cherry tomatoes
200g baby broad beans, unpodded, flower stalks removed
extra-virgin olive oil
garlic chives roughly chopped to make 2 tsp
One to two teaspoons of lemon zest
40g feta cheese, crumbled
sea salt flakes
coarsely ground black pepper
Though I admit to a liking for frozen broad beans there is nothing quite like the first fresh pods of early summer for putting a spring in a cook's step. Farm shops are usually quick off the mark with an early June crop, so look out for them in the next couple of weeks. Make the most of this – the beans are sweet and tender, at their freshest and best. As the season wears on, flavour and texture gradually change, eventually culminating in mealy monsters with bulbous pods.
Barely emerged from the flowers, the pods are tender enough to eat and can be enjoyed just like French beans or runner beans. There will be more pod than bean, but the flavour is delicious.
Preheat a ridged frying pan or stovetop grill. Grill the tomatoes for about five minutes or until slightly blackened, crushing them lightly with the back of a wooden spoon.
Meanwhile, steam the broad beans in their pods for five to six minutes until just tender. Tip into a bowl and toss with just enough olive oil to coat, the garlic chives and lemon zest.
Arrange the beans on serving plates with the tomatoes. Sprinkle with feta cheese, crumbled sea salt flakes and coarsely ground black pepper. Serve right away while still warm.
Cook's note:If you can't find garlic chives, which are broad and flat, you can use ordinary chives instead.
From The Farm Shop Cook Book by Christine McFadden (Absolute Press, £16.99)
Anakena Single Vineyard Viognier 2008, Chile
This wine has elegant ripe apricot and peach flavours with subtle vanilla notes from the short time it has spent in oak. With its crisp acidity and fresh length, it's a perfect match for this bean salad.
Threshers, £8.99. www.threshers.co.uk
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