Seasonal Ingredient of the Week: Broad Beans

There's something instantly likeable about food that comes in it's own packaging - what's not to love about popping open a pea pod to find a few broad beans snuggled in their fur lining? Known also as fava beans, broad beans are a staple in British dishes throughout summer - adding a pop of colour to plates as well as a unique taste. In season from late June until September, broad beans are part of the legume family (so technically not a vegetable) and can easily be found locally.

Unlike petits pois, they're not too enjoyable raw, so should be podded and boiled before using - the beans will puff up and be fatter once cooked too. Being a good source of protein, as well as vitamins A and B, they're the perfect counterpart to savoury summer dishes. 

RECIPE IDEAS 

- broad beans have a creamy texture, perfectly complementing naturally salty food such as sardines and bacon. 

- they also make a great dip - try using broad beans in place of chickpeas for a hummus style dip

- mix with peas and mint for a summery pea and broad bean mash - serve on your favourite toast, then top with a poached egg for weekend brunch

- they also work well with avocado in guacamole - mix with avocado, tahini, coconut milk, garlic and lime then blitz until almost-smooth. 

- for larger dishes, try your hand at a summer broad bean risotto. Add broad beans, peas and mint for a light summer dish. 

- For meat, they work particularly well with lamb. Serve grilled lamb cutlets with a side of mint and broad ban mash, or slow cooked like with a side of light sautéed broad beans. 

- And of course they work will in salads. Try with a mix of white quinoa, radish, mange tout, rocket and pumpkin seeds with a lemon dressing for a bright summer salad. Serve with salmon and enjoy.