As I peered down at my green fingernails, I wondered if it was worth it.
Of course it was.
I love fresh broad beans and double podded (big pod and little skin removed) is the only way to go. So succulent and sweet, and with fresh peas, well, that’s summer sorted, right? Fresh peas I love too. Folk say they’re overrated and that they lose their natural sweetness a couple of hours after being picked. I love the texture and the sweetness you get with them, and there is a certain satisfaction to podding your own.
How to make it substantial? Well, braised lettuce is a perfect partner, intensified, slippery and sweet. Some shredded spring onions, and smoked ham cut into strips.
Sounds good? Well, let’s make it better by adding some perfectly boiled quails eggs. I love the precision of boiling quails eggs. Dropped into a gently boiling pan of water for exactly 2 minutes 45 seconds and cooled under running water, you will get a perfect soft quails egg every time.
This dish is healthy, tasty, looks good and takes very little time at all (podding aside). The flavours are very clean, and it’s very healthy – bacon aside. Just a little precision, and you’ll be smiling the whole way through dinner.
Braised Gem Lettuce, Broad Beans, Peas and Ham with Quails Eggs
500g fresh broad beans (in the pod)
250g fresh peas (in the pod)
2 scallions (spring onions), shredded
a couple of slices of smoked cooked ham or bacon, sliced finely
6 quails eggs
1 head baby gem lettuce, washed and seperated into leaves
Double pod the broad beans by removing the outer pod, and then the little white skins from each bean. Trust me, it’s worth it. Pod the peas.
Cook the beans and peas in boiling water for a few minutes until tender and refresh under a cold tap or in ice water to stop them cooking, and to preserve that bright green colour.
Boil some water and add the eggs for 2 minutes 45 seconds exactly. Refresh under the tapo or in ice cold water to keep the yolks nice and soft (they will keep cooking otherwise). Peel when cold and half.
Fry the ham/bacon and the onions in some olive oil for a couple of minutes. If using bacon, add the onions towards the end so as not to burn them.
Add the lettuce and braise for a couple of minutes until they soften
Add the beans and peas, and when warm serve with the halved quails eggs on top.