It's Spring and our vegetable garden is just starting to do it's thing . There's a whole other party going on out there in the yard. There are males and females "getting to know each other". There's mingling and pollination. Amongst all this activity and showing-off, the poor old broad bean is left standing at the bar, alone. While the outrageous tomatoes spill their foliage all over the place like a burlesque dancers bosoms in a bustier, the broad bean is dressed in unimpressive leaves and dowdy flowers - the plant equivalent of a flannelette nightie. We've even planted them near the spring onions and away from the more showy plants so they won't feel so bad.
Looks, shmooks. It's all about taste for me. I am all for this Ugly-Betty.
With a few accessories and bit of tizzing, this "plane Jane" scrubs up all right. Pretty respectable in fact. Besides, with the zucchinis getting very friendly with the cucumbers - all tangled vines, goodness knows what's going on underneath all those leaves, a bit of respectability wouldn't go astray.
Moroccan Style Broad Bean Salad with Yoghurt and Crunchy Bits
from Jamie Oliver's Jamie's dinners
4 large handfuls podded broad beans
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
a handful fresh mint leaves, finely sliced
1 small red onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, bashed
a pinch dried chilli
a handful stale breadcrumbs
250ml natural Greek-style yoghurt
Blanch the beans in boiling salted water for a couple of minutes. Drain them and let them cool slightly. Remove the outer shell of the larger beans as they can be tough. Leave the small beans as-is.
Place the beans on a bowl and dress with the lemon juice and three times as much olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the mint.
In a shallow pan, on a medium heat, fry the onions, cumin seeds and chilli in a little olive oil. Stir and cook until softened. Add the breadcrumbs and cook until crispy and golden. Season to taste.
To serve, divide the yoghurt between four plates, top with the broad bean mixture and then sprinkle over the spiced crunchy bits.
These dressed-up broads are a match for any voluptuous tomato.