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Eat the Seasons - June 2014

Fruits & Nuts
Cherries, Elderflowers, Rhubarb
Vegetables & Herbs
Asparagus, Broccoli, Carrots, Lettuce, New Potatoes, Radishes, Rocket, Sorrel, Spinah, Spring Onions, Watercress
Meat & Game
Rabbit, Wood pigeon
Fish & Shellfish
Cod, Crab, Dover Sole, Hailbut, John Dory, Lemon Sole, Plaice, Salmon, Sea Bass, Sea Trout
Going out of season
Asparagus, Elderflower, Gooseberry, Hare, New Potatoes

Broad beans are at their peak from the end of May through to mid-July.  I love to harvest the pale green, soft pods.  If you pop them open you will find tiny beans bursting with flavour. In actual fact the entire young pod can be cooked and eaten, though the beans can be removed and cooked on their own if you prefer.  Only brief steaming or cooking is required right now, but as the season progresses the pods get bigger and tougher and then the beans are encased in a thick outer skin which really needs to be removed before you eat them.

Broad beans can be used in so many ways; it’s a crime to relegate them to a life of simply being served up as another vegetable on the side of a plate.  Here are a couple of ways to ring the changes;

served up as another vegetable on the side of a plate.  Here are a couple of ways to ring the changes;

Broad bean, pecorino, Gorgonzola and Parma ham salad

Serves 4


  • 400g small broad beans (podded weight)
  • 100g pecorino, shaved
  • 8 thin slices of Parma ham (or similar), cut into strips
  • 6 thin slices of Gorgonzola
  • 10-12 basil leaves, torn
  • Lemon
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Dried chilli flakes (optional)

Boil the broad beans until tender (about 5 minutes for the youngest ones), then run under the cold tap for 30 seconds. I like to slip the skins from all but the tiniest beans to free the vivid green cushions inside, but I’ll leave that up to you. Toss the beans with the pecorino, Gorgonzola, Parma ham and basil. Divide between four plates or bowls. Dress each one with a squeeze of lemon and a glug of olive oil. Season well, adding the tiniest pinch of chilli flakes, if you wish.

Broad bean, lemon hummus and rocket brushetta party nibbles

Serves 4


  • 500g broad beans (podded weight)
  • Big handful of rocket
  • 1 plump clove of garlic, crushed
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to pour on top
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Some rustic toast

Cook the beans until tender (about 5 minutes). Remove the skins if you wish – this reveals the more vibrant colour.  Place the cooked beans, rocket, garlic, lemon, oil and seasoning in a blender and pulse to a coarse paste — it should have fragments of bean for texture. Spread on top of the toast, add a splash more olive oil and a sprinkling of sea salt. Sometimes I put soft white goat’s cheese or shaved pecorino and a rocket leaf or two on top. Sometimes even a few extra whole beans.