This purée is very versatile. It is delicious as a side-dish with all kinds of meats, it is delicious as a dip for bread sticks, it is delicious as a spread on bruscetta and it works also great as a pasta sauce (thin it with some water in that case). Double-podding all the broad beans is a bit of a job, but the end-result makes it certainly worth it. And I kind of like the repetition of podding beans, it is quite a meditative activity. So why not make a big batch even when you will not eat it at once? It keeps for 4 days in the fridge, so it is a great stand-by for an easy dinner, or a delicious snack.
On the photo you can see I served the purée with a beefburger and fried polenta squares. You make this squares by cooking your polenta according to the instructions on the package. Season with salt, pepper, a knob of butter, some cream or mascarpone and parmesan. Pour into a greased baking dish (so that it forms a thin and even layer) and leave to cool. It should be completely cool, so I like to place the baking dish in the fridge for at least 1 hour. Cut into squares and fry in a hot pan in some olive oil until golden and crisp on the outside, and warm in the middle.
Broad bean purée (serves 4-6)
Adapted from “Annabel Langbein – The Free Range Cook”
1 kg podded fresh or frozen broad beans (or 5 kg fresh broad beans in their pods, podded)
3 cloves garlic, chopped very finely
4 tbsp extra vergine olive oil
50 g grated Parmesan
salt and pepper
1-2 tbsp water
Optional: squeeze of lemon
If broad beans are fresh, boil them for 2 minutes then drain. If using frozen broad beans, pour over boiling water and leave until cool enough to handle. Slip off greyish outer skins by grasping each bean by its grooved end and squeezing gently. Discard skins.
Put the beans, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper in a food processor and purée. Taste for seasoning, add more salt and pepper if necessary. The purée can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for 4 days.
To serve, add the water and warm on low heat while stirring regularly. Add a squeeze of lemon juice if you like. Serve.
Note: to make this dish truly vegetarian, use a vegetarian alternative for Parmesan cheese.