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!