Preparing for Summer

As it appears that spring is truly here and we’re all making plans for the summer, it seems an apposite moment to give you a summer recipe.  Hopefully the vegetables are becoming more varied in the shops and markets and you can move away from root vegetables to the lighter summer offerings.

I must have read about the combination of fresh peas and broad beans somewhere, because otherwise I don’t really know why I decided to create this salad.  Broad beans were never one of my favourite vegetables and neither am I a huge fan of peas (though I love shelling fresh peas and eating them raw).  One day in Waitrose though I saw that both peas and broad beans were in season and I decided to buy some.  I looked through books and magazines to find whatever had originally inspired me but couldn’t find it.  So I made up the salad, and I have tweaked and changed the recipe ever since.  I love the combination of the freshness of the vegetables, herbs and cheese.  It is a fecht to double pod the broad beans but so worth it.  I love the fact that this can only be made while both vegetables are in season and that that season coincides with barbecue weather, because it is wonderful with grilled meats.

If you thought some of my instructions were imprecise before, well we’re going to reach a new low.  Today’s recipe, requested by Jen, is Broad Bean and Pea Salad, and as always you must adjust it to your taste as I made it to mine.

Broad Bean and Pea Salad – Ingredients

  • 1 Waitrose vegetable bag full of fresh peas (I don’t use frozen cos I don’t really like them)
  • 2 Waitrose vegetable bags full of broad beans (ditto)
  • 1 packet feta cheese (or any other strong flavoured goats cheese)
  • Good olive oil
  • Good vinegar – I have used sherry vinegar or balsamic – my favourite is the Vinaigre de Banyuls
  • Black pepper
  • Handful of fresh herbs – I use chives, lovage and winter savory from the garden usually.  Mint, flat leaf parsley and sorrel all work too.

Method

Shell the peas.  Double shell the broad beans – this means taking the beans out of the pods, and then removing the coating around each bean.  This is a messy job requiring nails, but if you don’t remove the coating, it goes opaque and becomes hard.  Put in a pan together, cover with water and bring to the boil.  I cook them for about 10 mins.

Wash the herbs and chop quite finely.  Drain the vegetables and put into a bowl.  Mix in the herbs and move to serving bowl (unless you are very tidy, I wouldn’t recommend putting straight into the serving bowl).  Drizzle about three tablespoons olive oil and one tablespoon vinegar over the vegetables.  Mix gently.

Crumble the feta over the vegetables and grind some pepper on top.  You may want to add salt but I find the feta is salty enough.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

This works wonderfully well with lamb or crusty bread if you fancy a vegetarian snack.

Enjoy!

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