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Broad beans, green garlic & mint bruschetta

I love this time of year. By now I’ve been eating gorgeous seasonal asparagus for about 6 weeks. I should be getting sick of it but I never do. The end of the asparagus season would be depressing, if it were not for the start of the broad bean season with an overlap of a couple of weeks to facilitate gorgeous salads, or, for indulging in any number of dishes with broad beans in the starring role, as I did here.

I was at Marylebone Farmer’s Market at the weekend, rushing as always to get there before it closes at 2pm, and I was quite delighted to find that, as part of Marylebone Summer Village Fayre, it would be open until 5pm. There was the added bonus of new stallholders, albeit just for one week, including the Garlic Farm from the Isle of Wight with their amazing arrays of garlics and garlic products, including elephant garlic and green garlic.

Now green garlic is something that I haven’t had before. I know! What kind of foodie am I? I had read about it though, and was very keen to try it, so I was very happy to have the opportunity to purchase. I also bought some of the early season broad beans from another stall.

I thought I’d do a twist on a broad bean bruschetta that I do regularly, including green garlic this time and keeping it vegetarian. I would often include ham or anchovies, natural partners for the broad bean, but I wanted to experiment and try something where the green garlic and broad beans would dominate.

This doesn’t require a recipe, just a conversation – honestly, follow your tastebuds.

I used a half a kilo of broad beans in the pod, double podded and boiled briefly until tender, then plunged into iced water to stop them cooking and preserve that gorgeous colour and flavour. I then added a couple of teaspoons of chopped fresh mint, the juice of half a lemon, about twice that of a good extra virgin olive oil. Then add about 2 inches of the stalk of green garlic (substitute 1 clove normal garlic or a shallot), outer husk removed and the rest finely chopped, a couple of tablespoons of grated mature manchego (as mature as ou can get – substitute pecorino or parmesan). Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. That’s your bruscheta topping done.

I sliced some baguette diagonally to about half a cm in width. Toast lightly on each side, spread your broad bean mix liberally on top and drizzle some of your extra virgin olive oil over it, topping it with shavings of the manchego.

This is perfect summer food. Enjoy!

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I like food. I like to make food. Eat food. Photograph food. Write about food. Mainly in London but when I am lucky or organised further afield.

17 Comments

  1. Thanks – and more please.

    I have always like broad beans but they were always a companion for roast beef, mixed with sweetcorn in succotash and even eaten very young chopped small in the pod like old fashioned green beans.

    I knew to the idea of salads with broad beans and still trying to reconcile salad with the taste of a slightly grey bean in a slighlty fatty beef gravy.

    So more please. (PS if you are introducing kids to gardening, plant broad beans – they grow like topsy.)

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  2. That is summer in a dish – yum! Broad beans/mint/garlic and lemon is also a great addition to pasta. That green colour is so wonderful, well worth all the podding!

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  3. Thanks Jo! I will post more :-)
    I am mainly familiar with them in salads or soups.
    Incidentally, as a child I grew them! So easy and great fun.

    lavenderbakery – I have been toying with a new pasta dish and was thinking of adding some anchovies to the list above, maybe an egg yolk too for creaminess. Well worth the podding too, visually stimulating as well as wonderful flavour.

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  4. This looks so lovely! I keep meaning to go to the farmers market in Marylebone – this makes me want to go even more!

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  5. This looks deliciously fresh. I had some wet garlic the other day – I think it is the same thing?

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  6. If you are going to Marylebone Farmers market, or the one in islington – look out soon for Rent a Cherry Tree – brilliant idea where you can rent a tree (rather self-explanatory) and then go and PYO your own cherries just like in the good old days. All part of the Cherryaid campaign saving the British cherry.

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  7. Well I’m an even worse foodie as I’ve never even heard of green garlic:) This looks delicious, I love the ingredients and really easy to do, now if only I could find fresh broad beans.

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  8. I think I’m loving broad beans even more than asparagus this year, we’ve definitely been cooking with them more anyway. I’m planning on doing something with pasta this evening but I loved the sound of this.

    I’ve never heard of green garlic either but I don’t live too far away from Marylebone farmer’s market so may try to get there this weekend.

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  9. Katie – thanks! It’s a really ncie market although the garlic farm aren’t there normally. Worth going for the other stalls though! The garlic farm are at Borough semi regularly, althoguh with no definite schedule unfortunately. I’ll be keeping my eye out for them. Loving the green garlic and have an enormous elephant garlic to play with yet!

    Helen – thansk! It is the same thing. Utterly delicious. How did you have yours?

    Jo D – that sounds fantastic! re you affiliated with the Slow Food Movement? Sounds right up their street.

    Italian Foodie – lol! Can’t you get fresh broad beans at home (notice you’re in Ireland :-) That’s a shame! I am planting beans this weekend so that I can reap in September. Might be worth doing there. they practically grow themselves if you can cope with the slugs.

    Ginger – I am 50/50, although I have had so much asparagus lately, I am ready for the season to end. Green garlic is the fresh undried version, so moist and delicious. I would highly recommend it. Enjoy!

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  10. Lovely! We were given some fresh broad beans by our neighbour today, and husband ruined them by overcooking them. I wish I’d had this instead!

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  11. Jeanne – so it is! I must have been influenced by it :-)

    Foodieguide – oh no! Save them next time :-)

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