Saturday, 25 June 2011

Broad bean, pea shoot and pecorino sardo salad

Broad bean, pea shoot and pecorino salad

The weather hasn’t even been remotely summery today but I'm keen to make the most of all the amazing produce that is available currently. Eating seasonally means that in the winter months our diet consists of lots of leeks and brassicas. Enjoyable, but after a few months the novelty can begin to wear off and the excitement of the summer vegetable cousins coming to stay starts to settle in. Oh yummy asparagus, broad beans, peas, courgette flowers….

Broad beans 

Broad beans remind me so much of summer. My grandpa had a small vegetable patch at the bottom of his garden. Tomatoes, little gem lettuce and raspberries were the main staples but he would often dabble in a season of this and that. Runner beans one year, broad beans the next. Walking barefoot on the hot, rough slabs down to the bottom of his garden then eating his home grown delights straight off the bushes is one of my earliest and most enduring memories. The year was punctuated by different crops and I think it is this that has given me an appreciation of nature and seasonality.

Broad beans

Eating by the seasons wasn’t something my grandparents and their generation thought about, it was just the way things were. They weren’t eating broad beans in June because it was a trendy, middle class thing to do. They did it because that was option available. Today, in our world of readily available non native food such as bananas, broad beans can be quite tricky to get hold of in their short 8 week window. Some supermarkets stock them but your best bet is greengrocers or farmers markets. I got some today and was determined to make the most of them.

Broad beans, pecorino sardo and crusty bread - hello lunch

I’ll always remember my Grandma telling me about her first taste of bananas. Transatlantic shipping recommenced after the Second World War and it was then that my Grandma had her first taste of banana. She would have been about 15. Today 95% of British household buy them on a weekly basis. They are available all year round in every supermarket. Not exotic. Not exotic at all. The Oxford dictionary defines exotic as ‘‘strikingly unusual”. I guess you could perhaps now argue that the broad bean is more exotic than the banana?  Even if you disagree, it is difficult to class a banana as exotic despite the average 5106 food miles it has traveled to arrive on our plates.

Anyways rant over.

Broad bean, pea shoot and pecorino sardo salad
Serves 2

300g of broad bean pods
2 handfuls of pea shoots
50g pecorino sardo shards
juice of 1 lemon
good glug of olive oil, nice and grassy ideally
salt and pepper to taste

Remove the broad beans from their thick pods and boil in salted water for 3 minutes.
Personally I tend to then remove the beans from their inner casing mainly because I find it too bitter. I will not judge you for leaving it on. It is your diner, not mine, after all.
Mix all the other ingredients together.

I served the salad on top of some crusty bread brushed with more olive oil and then griddled on a high heat till crisp.



  1. Love pecorino,but it is unbelievable that just use it for pesto. Thanks for the idea

  2. Hey sylvia, It is lovely, this pecorino sardo was really strong! It was great with the fresh salad but my ultimate cheese is a french gooey one.