So broad beans, or fava beans depending which side of the Atlantic you live on, are back already. Spring may not be officially here (or at least if it is, it hasn’t notified my weatherman yet) but broad beans have made it into my veg box so I’m a happy camper. One of the oldest cultivated beans, quick to cook (yes I know only once you have prepped them) and deliciously versatile; I’ve never been sure why they aren’t the cornerstone of everyone’s diet from April on.
If you grew up as I did, you might still be trying to enjoy your broad beans as my Granny’s generation did, that is still in their tough, pale inner skins. In which case, you’ll be wondering what on earth I am raving on about. Whilst I’m sure blanching your beans for a minute or so and slipping them out of their skins might well reduce their fibre content, I’m also sure that they are high enough in fibre skinless to ensure that you are still getting a very healthy veggie side. I’m also pretty sure that you’ll manage to eat more of them this way so making sure you make the best of all their other health benefits: loads of protein, folate and B vitamins as well as mineral such as potassium, iron, magnesium and copper to name but a few. They are also full of L- Dopa, a precursor to dopamine amongst several other neuro-chemicals. And of course, they are gorgeous with relatively little input from the cook (always a plus). I love them dressed in a little herby olive oil on the side of some lamb or grilled fish or paired perfectly with seafood and all types of pasta. But one of my favourite ways of serving them has to be tossed simply through some orzo with lots of fresh herbs, lemon juice and with whatever seafood I have to hand. Try it, it is the perfect fish recipe for Good Friday or any busy mid week supper. But no points for spotting that I took the photo before I tossed the broad beans through the pasta. I never claimed that they helped memory.
Orzo with Seafood and Broad Bean Recipe
400g broad beans (podded, around a kilo of unpodded beans)
75g orzo per person
100g wet garlic (or garlic infused olive oil if you can’t get it with a few good handfuls of baby leaf spinach)
30g sorrel (if you can’t find sorrel, try a few chives and some grated lemon peel)
300g prawns (shrimp)
Juice of one lemon
2 tbsps creme fraiche or soured cream
a large handful of fresh flat leaved parsley
Start by shelling your broad beans, then blanch for a minute or so in boiling water and refresh. Once they are cool you should be able to skip the skins off easily. I like to do this as soon as I have brought mine home. Prepped they’ll last a day or so covered in the fridge so don’t do it too far in advance.
Cook your orzo according to the packet instructions and pan fry the scallops in a splash of olive oil until they are brown on both sides. Add the prawns to the pan and cook as well.
Warm through a tablespoon or so of olive oil. If you are using wet garlic and sorrel, wilt them in the oil a few minutes before the orzo is cooked. If you are using garlic infused oil, warm that through and wilt your spinach in it instead. Throw in the scallops and the cooked prawns.
When your orzo is cooked, throw it into the pan with the seafood as well, then squeeze over the lemon juice and stir through the creme fraiche. Toss through your broad beans and parsley, then serve with extra lemon to squeeze over at the table as you see fit.