You guys, I’m calling it. For the first time this year in London, it is too. dang. hot. My kitchen, the room in my home that calls to me most, is now repellant. Last night when I was making dough for chicken pie*, I tried to roll it out and ended up with a greasy, flabby mess that fell apart as soon as I lifted it from the counter top. #SummerCookingProblems.
It became apparent that anything involving cold butter would be out of the question for the rest of the weekend (sob). On top of that, who really wants to switch on their oven to add to the already hot-and-heavy air that lingers in their kitchen on summer days? Not me, that’s for sure. I am sweaty and uncomfortable enough as it is, thank you very much.
So, what to do? After a rummage through my fridge and a flip through a few magazines, I found my foodie saviour in the form of broad beans. If you’re unfamiliar with this wonderful veg, then you’ve been missing out my friend! Let me enlighten you: The brilliant green beans are wrapped in edible skins, which are in turn nestled in an almost-fluffy (seriously) sleeping bag, in the form of a giant bean pod. Shelling them is a pleasure before you even get to taste the sweet little morsels, which seem to go with every savoury summer taste, and is how they are served in this recipe.
The broad beans come in the form of a dip, like a hummus, but greener. Sharp lemon, refreshing mint and coriander, fruity olive oil, a touch of cumin and earthy pistachios make this dish balanced, summery and satisfying. Boil, zest, blitz, chop and garnish. It is as simple as that, and can take as little as 8 minutes to put together if you’re super organised and arrange all of your ingredients in advance. I am not that person, and it still only took 15, so really there is no excuse not to make this most summery of dips.
A quick note before you start gathering ingredients; this dish is made for personalising, and is easily doubled. Use the broad beans + citrus + oil + herbs + spice + nuts as a base, and let your imagination run wild. Maybe try lime, toasted sesame oil and sesame seeds in the dip? Or toasted, chopped hazelnuts and earthy sage? The possibilities are pretty much endless, so I’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments.
Happy summer cooking!
*This one. It’s great, especially if you throw a generous handful of freshly chopped chives in the white sauce. I’m actually eating some cold, straight from the fridge, as a type. Yum.
BROAD BEAN DIP (adapted from Waitrose Food Magazine, June 2016, p. 25)
- 500g of broad beans (from this I got about 130g beans, shelled weight)
- 1 small garlic clove, or half of a large one, chopped
- 3 mint leaves
- Generous pinch of cumin seeds
- Generous pinch of sea salt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon of water
- 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil (you must use extra virgin, the flavour makes all the difference! My personal favourite is Colonna Classic)
- The skinned broad beans set aside earlier
- A swirl of extra virgin olive oil (same as before).
- 5 or 6 picked coriander leaves
- 4 pistachios, chopped
- A little bit of red chilli, chopped
- Cracked black pepper
1. Shell the broad beans, then boil in water for 3 minutes.
2. Drain the beans and run under cold water to stop them cooking. Skin a few of the beans and set to the side, leaving the majority in their skins.
3. Into a food processor put the remaining beans, the leftover bean skins, chopped garlic, mint leaves, cumin seeds, sea salt, lemon zest, lemon juice and water. Blitz until smooth, scraping down the sides of the processor if needed.
4. Add the olive oil. Blitz again until you are left with a paste that has a similar consistency to hummus.
5. Scoop the broad bean dip into a pretty bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, and top with the skinned broad beans, coriander leaves, chopped pistachios, chilli and black pepper.
6. Serve with flatbreads, raw veggies, or eat it with a spoon (it really is that nice). The flatbread recipe I used is Bill Granger’s spring onion bread, featured in the Sydney Food cookbook.