Broad Bean Salad

Lots of shelled broad beans

I love broad beans especially cold in salads. One of the problems with broad beans (or maybe I should say broad bean shellers) is that few people take the time to shell them and so the poor little brilliantly green beans get served in their boringly tough and grey skins and never get to enjoy the fanfare and lights that should accompany their advent on the table.

Broad bean skins – a no-no for me. There is a recipe I found years ago in a magazine that I have made over and over again because it tastes fabulous and looks colourful in the bowl. I usually put it on the table all mixed with a dressing, red onion and chives. I always serve it with a Thai Beef Salad which is what I am going to do today as well.

It takes a bit of time to de-pod the broad beans after they are cooked. It is actually essential to not overcook the beans. I bought frozen broad beans and thawed them. Put them into cold water and brought to the boil. Boiled for 5 minutes and then plunge them into really cold water to stop the cooking process otherwise they start to fall apart when you are shelling them. You can add a handful or so of green peas as well if you like. The photo above shows them added. I also made another broad bean salad without an anchovy/caper dressing for those who (for some unfathomable reason) don’t take to the anchovy and/or caper taste.

Watch the BBC news while shelling the beans; it helps. Then put them to rest in the fridge for a while.

Blend a gorgeous mixture of anchovy fillets, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and capers until puréed. This is a seriously yummy dressing.

Cut a good handful of chives into 2cm pieces with some scissors. Chop very finely one smallish red Spanish onion or one half of a larger one. This does not need too much onion. Season generously.

The elegant serving dish with all separate ingredients

Combine everything into a good looking bowl to serve with a Thai Beef Salad in another gorgeous serving platter. They go well together. A small mixed leaf salad with a simple oil and vinegar dressing sets the whole meal off perfectly.

750g broad beans, cooked and shelled
1 small red onion finely chopped
A handful of chives cut into 2cm lengths

6 anchovy fillets drained and roughly chopped
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves crushed garlic
2 teasp drained bottled capers

Mix all together in a bowl and chill for at least ½ hour before serving.

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