Recipe: Bruschetta for lunch, anyone?
The kitchen garden is overflowing with luscious greenery and fruit and pods – peas, broad beans, mange tout and the start of the runner beans. We are spoiled for choice. So I came to the conclusion that the time was right for me to be brave and make a dish that appeared in all the magazines – the problem was I didn’t know if I would like to eat it (even though Jamie Oliver and top chefs rated it highly).
But my decision was made for me, when our friend Adrian, a professional chef, (in fact, an incredible chef) asked if he could pop in at lunchtime.
So yesterday morning I marched up to the kitchen garden, armed with a colander and scissors, and spent the next few minutes snapping off the choicest broad beans, and then the pods of our climbing Alderton peas.
Back in the kitchen I podded the broad beans, which were no larger than my little finger nail, and the vibrant green peas (couldn’t stop nibbling them, they were so sweet and fresh). The beans, and what was left of the peas, were put in a bowl, I added a tablespoon of water and covered the bowl with pricked cling-film, and placed it in the microwave for one minute.
Erik came in, wandering what the noise was, and found me pounding the drained beans and peas along with lemon zest and Ginger Mint (fresh from outside the back door), and a few Summer Savory leaves, using my enormously heavy black pestle and mortar.
I added some ricotta cheese, mixed it in with a glug of some good olive oil and a couple of twists of freshly ground black pepper.
“Not sure if I’ll like it,” I said, “but I’m going to taste it now to see what it’s like.”
Well, was I suprised! It was amazing – nothing like I’d expected. Fresh, sweet, zingy with the lemon zest – a new taste experience.
I couldn’t wait to slice the crusty bread, (a ‘Wolds Baton’ from our local artisan baker, Patrick Crabtree, of Feast Rising Bakery) and instructed Erik how to brush the slices with olive oil and cook both sides directly on the AGA simmering plate, which took 4 -5 minutes.
Peeling and cutting in half a large clove of our newly dug-up garlic, I handed it to Erik to rub over the golden bread slices, whilst they were still warm. The aroma was incredible.
The door bell rang, and in came Adrian, ravenous from his run over the Humber Bridge. The three of us sat around our kitchen table, piling the broad bean and pea puree on top of the crusty, warm bread. We were in heaven, and I think I was awarded ‘brownie points’ in Erik’s eyes (and hopefully chef Adrian’s eyes too).
If you would like the recipe for Broad Bean & Pea Bruschetta, please see below. And enjoy.
For this recipe. Broad bean & Pea Bruschetta, use the freshest small broad beans possible, and fresh peas.
- Broad bean pods - approx. 12 - 15, filled out & 8 - 9 cms (3-4 inches) long
- Pea pods - big handful
- Fresh mint leaves - about 10 medium leaves
- Summer Savory leaves - small handful of leaves
- One lemon - zest only
- Ricotta cheese - 2 tbsp
- Freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese - 2 tbsp
- Olive oil (good) - 1 - 2 tbsp (don't make it too runny)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Bread baguette or baton - sliced thickly on the diagonal
- Olive oil to brush over bread slices.
- Garlic Clove - large skinned & cut in half
- De-pod the broad beans and peas. The beans need to be only as big as your little finger nail - if larger, the beans need to be skinned- they will come off and be too tough. Place in a microwaveable bowl with a spoonful of water, and cover with cling-film, pricked with a fork. Cook on full power for one minute. Drain and set aside. To skin the larger beans, either the skins will have come off after one minute in the microwave, so you just pick them out, or put beans in a bowl of iced water. The skins should come straight off.
- Wash the mint and summer savory leaves then dry with kitchen paper.
- Place the peas, beans & herbs in a large mortar or bowl. Add a few fine gratings of lemon zest. Pound strongly with the pestle, or a heavy wooden spoon until roughly crushed. You don't want a smooth puree - more a small chunky mix.
- Add the ricotta cheese and a spoonful of good olive oil, and mix well. It must not be too liquid, or it will just slip off the bread slice. Add the Parmesan or Pecorino cheese. Season if necessary with more lemon zest and freshly ground black pepper.
- Slice the baguette or baton thickly on the diagonal. Brush with olive oil, and either lightly fry each side in a frying pan for 4-5 minutes (turning over), or, like me, put on the simmering plate of the AGA. As soon as the slices are golden and crispy, wipe the cut side of the garlic clove over the bread.
- Either put the bean and pea mix in a large bowl, or spread the bread slices with the mix. Finish off with a few sprinklings of the chopped Mint and Summer Savory leaves on top of the puree. Enjoy a Heavenly taste of the Broad Bean & Pea Bruchetta - I guarantee you will make this again and again.