Fresh broad beans are a great treat, when in season. They are perhaps a little fiddly, having to remove them from the pod, but definitely worth it. To enjoy their delicate flavour, peeling the beans themselves is recommended, but not at all necessary.
When we visited Abruzzo, Italy, broad beans were served raw, still in their pods just with pecorino cheese and some toasted bread. This was a wonderfully simple snack, yet bursting with flavour.
They originated in the Mediterranean, but are now widely grown around the world. Make sure you get hold of really fresh beans, as they loose their flavour quickly after picking. Store in a cool dry place and eat wothin a day or two. If you have a glut of beans, you can always pod, quickly blanch in salted boiling water and freeze them.
Broad beans pair well with peas, mint and feta in a salad or with pasta and a little olive or rapeseed oil or even ricotta and lemon zest. Don’t be shy and use lots of fresh herbs. They do make a lovely side dish, just boiled in salted water and served with lots of butter or ghee. You can also add cooked bacon or pancetta for a meaty side. Actually, they are incredibly versatile and can be added to soups, stews, frittatas, quiches and salads. They do have a particular affinity with pork, so think roasts, bacon, chorizo or ham. We even like adding them to scrambled eggs in the morning!