Broad bean facts: advice for cooking with broad beans
How to cook broad beans
Broad beans are a staple part of Italian, Spanish, Lebanese and Morrocan cuisine. They make a nice change from lentils and chickpeas and are rich in carbohydrates and potassium.
Whether used in soup, as a purée or fried, with pasta, they're versatile and full of flavour. Although they're only in season for a short time, frozen alternatives make them an option all year round.
- The pods should be firm and plump. The beans should be colourful, crunchy and smooth.
- Young broad beans can be eaten raw, otherwise steam or boil them for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Cook the beans whole al dente then put them in cold water.
- To peel them (when the skin is thick), squeeze between two fingers to get the bean out. Otherwise, a little slit with a knife should do the trick.
What goes well with broad beans?
Broad beans go well with lots of meats: lamb, pork, ham, bacon, smoked sausage, poultry and eggs. They also go extremely well with peas, lentils, chickpeas (think falafel!) and other similar legumes.
Lemon, parmesan, parsley, tarragon and cumin all bring out the best of their subtle flavour. Fresh goat's cheese (and fresh cheeses in general) also go well with broad beans.