News and Sunday’s favourite – the fava bean

June 14, 2020

The Restaurant has used beautiful fava beans every summer for well over 30 years,

in salads, soups, risotto, pasta dishes, with roasted sea bass or salmon or with lamb. Although the earlier arrivals from Italy and Spain have already appeared in the markets,

we normally prefer to wait for the tender, often slightly smaller pods grown in the UK –

and these are appearing in fields, allotments and gardens up and down the land  – right now. Whilst fava beans are somewhat time consuming to prepare, the results are worth waiting for

(as with a few other things in life – more of that later).

 

Pod the beans by pulling the pod apart, then grade them into small and large

(we often grade into small, medium and large), keeping them separate. Bring a small pan of water to a rolling boil, and at the same time prepare a small bowl of ice.

Place the large beans into the water and boil for a few seconds,

or until you can see that the skins have slightly ‘puffed’ like a pillow.

You may need to take one or 2 out with a slotted spoon to check during the cooking,

but this stage should take no more than 20-30 seconds.

Next add the smaller pods to the pan of beans and immediately the water comes back to the boil

(no more than a further 10-15 seconds), pour the contents of the pan into a sieve over the sink,

then immediately tip the beans into the bowl of ice. Stir them gently together

so that they chill quickly and evenly, adding a little cold water to cover them.

Allow them to chill thoroughly in the melting ice for a few minutes, then drain.

 

Next start to ‘double pod’ the large and medium-sized beans by breaking the skins with a thumbnail

and gently pushing the bean out from within, dropping them back into the bowl.

Leave the small tender beans intact with their skins on, as they are not bitter at all.

In this way, the double podded beans are mixed in with the single podded beans –

I love to see the various shades of green within one plate.

 

The beans may be served cold, perhaps tossed with chopped chives or chervil,

olive oil and sea salt, with cooked peas, asparagus and salad leaves.

Alternatively, grilled sourdough toast which has been spread with soft goat cheese or ricotta

tastes delicious topped with a generous sprinkling of fava beans, drizzled with your best olive oil.

If they are to be served warm however, remember that they are already cooked,

so they hardly need any warming at all. Over-cooking will change not only the colour,

but also the flavour and their texture – it’s so easily done – so beware.

 

NB. the very small ones (2-3 cm long) may be eaten whole, pod and all,

either raw or very simply steamed or sautéed, tossed with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt.

 

I often feel that our lovely customers are amongst the most patient in the world! Either waiting in the queue outside the shop in the blazing sun or pouring rain,

or as they ask “when oh when will we be able to sit in the Restaurant again and order the veal chop?!”

(sadly this will now not be until September ), or as they politely ask “is there any Corner Shop news?”

(yes certainly there is – we shall be open within a few weeks!)

 

So thank you to you all for your kindness throughout this nightmare,

for your support and for your lovely words and messages.

As each day offers yet another set of challenges for all of us (we know that we are not alone in this),

  we are trying hard to make the right decisions at the right time for the right reasons,

and we so look forward to seeing you all again very soon.