When I go to the market I always try to buy something that I don’t normally cook with. Last week it was broad beans because according to the green grocer, we’re at the end of the season. So I bought a kilo of these delicious vibrant green beans and headed home. It wasn’t until later that I realised I actually had to shell, boil and peel all of the beans – I wasn’t quite as enthusiastic as I had been earlier that day.
But, I was committed. The beans needed to be eaten so I had to find something to do with them. I settled on broad bean and asparagus risotto. I enlisted the help of my not quite 2 year old son and he turned out to be quite good at shelling the beans. A few went on the floor, a couple nearly got eaten, but overall, his fine motor skills were quite impressive. So we boiled the beans and popped them out of their skins, ready to be put in the risotto.
The end result was quite delicious and I realised that the journey you go on to get the beans is actually very enjoyable. So much so that I bought more broad beans yesterday and smashed them up this morning for breakfast. I had my chief bean podder on the task, we chatted while we worked and it was the most relaxing way to start a Sunday.
So here is my recipe for smashed broad beans on toast with poached eggs (and other nice things…).
Smashed broad beans on toast with poached eggs
1/2 kilo of broad beans
Approx 8 mint leaves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons of goats cheese (I use a cube and a half of Meredith Valley goats cheese)
Juice of 1 lemon
Olive oil (I use the oil from the goats cheese)
Salt & pepper
4 free range or organic eggs
4 slices good quality grain bread, sliced thickly
Small handful of watercress
First you need to prepare the broad beans. Put a medium saucepan of water onto boil while you shell the beans. Add a pinch of salt to the water and drop the shelled broad beans in for one minute – much longer than this and they become to mushy. Run the beans under cold water to stop them cooking and set aside until cool.
Meanwhile, place the mint, goats cheese, juice of half a lemon, a splash of olive oil and salt and pepper (be generous) in a bowl, set aside. Break the skins of the broad beans and pop the beans out. They will still be a little bit firm, which is what you want. I am guessing that this is also why they are smashed and not mashed. It’s quite difficult to mash the beans so I placed them on my chopping board, gave them a quick chop and then smashed them slightly with my fork. Add the beans to the mint mixture and mix well, ensuring the goats cheese is nicely mixed through.
Now to prepare your eggs, put a medium saucepan of water onto boil and add a good splash of vinegar. When the water is almost boiling, slowly break your eggs in one by one and reduce the heat to medium. If the eggs have come out of the fridge, they should take 3 minutes to cook – to get the nice runny yolk in the middle, or 2 and a half minutes if they are at room temperature.
Put your toast on. When the eggs are ready, drain them on paper towel. Top your toast with a drizzle of olive oil and the broad beans. Put your eggs on top, squeeze over some lemon juice, add salt and pepper to your liking and scatter over some watercress.
Relax and enjoy!