Monday, April 10, 2006


The first broad beans were in the shops today, tiny little things whispering the change of season. When I saw how far they had travelled I was a bit shocked, but by then it was too late. The sage bush is putting out new leaves too, and broad beans and sage go together like, well, broad beans and sage.

Cook the beans in boiling salted water for about 6 minutes. Refresh under cold running water and then slip off their skins. This is the best bit - it reminds me of popping bubble wrap! Out slide the bright green beans with their startling colour. Chop some sage and warm through with a squashed clove of garlic in some olive oil - don't let it do more than heat gently. Pour the oil and sage over the beans, leaving the garlic behind. Serve either warm, or chilled as an hors d'oeuvre or as part of a salad.


Julie said...

Another nice picture. That green is just springtime itself.

June said...

Thank you Julie - that's just what I felt too!

Lynn D. said...

I think you have finally solved a dilemma for me. I live in the United States (Pacific Northwest) and we don't have "broad" beans here. From your picture and description I think they are what we refer to as fava beans. That is the conclusion my son, who spent a summer in Ireland, came to as well. But I think I have also seen reference in British cook books to fava beans; is there a difference? I usually serve fava beans with mint but sage sounds lovely, perhaps sage and mint? By the way, where were these broad beans grown?

While we are on the fascinating, but confusing subject of beans could you tell me what is a "mange tout?" Thanks!

June said...

I think they are fava beans too - I'm just holding out for a bit of cultural independence here! I didn't know much about fava beans until my curiosity was spiked by Hannibal Lecter, but I'm still not sure what our butter beans are, or what the egyptian ful are, and I think they are all varieties of broad/fava bean.

I'm truly too embarrassed to tell you where they came from - miles and miles away.

Mange tout - immature pea pods with tiny tiny peas inside, edible in their entirety hence 'mange tout' - eat all. Not the same as sugar snaps, which are a bit more developed. Actually, with all this, I will refer to my allotment friend (see Ramsay's Risotto)! I think there are different varieties to give these different results.

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