Top 5 – Flavours that go well with Broad Beans

I think I’ve become slightly obsessed with Broad Beans (Fava Beans).  I got about 4 or 5 reasonable harvests from my plants this year and its left me wanting more.  I harvested the last of the beans yesterday before pulling the plants.  Actually I chopped them off at ground level to try and keep the nitrogen in the soil.  Anyway to honour a crop I’ve really enjoyed this year I thought it only appropriate to devote a top 5 to it.  These are the flavours I think work best with Broad Beans.

1. Garlic – The broad bean season in Melbourne roughly co-incides with garlic season.   For early crops there’s green garlic, later crops would be mature at about the same time as the start of the fresh garlic season.  Green or fresh, it doesn’t really matter as both work fabulously with broad beans.

2. Feta (or other sheep or goats cheese) – I think the lovely saltiness of Feta and Haloumi work particularly well with Broad Beans.  I’m not a fan of goats cheese personally but I’m lead to believe the combination works really well.  My favourite broad bean dish is a combination of Broad Beans, garlic, mint and feta dressed with extra virgin olive oil and ideally eaten atop toast made with olive bread.   I simply cannot recommend the combination highly enough.

3. I’ve already mentioned mint above but I’m going to mention it again as I really like the combination of mint with broad beans.  Again its a highly seasonal combination with both being at their best in Melbourne’s Spring.  Its hard to say why mint works so well with broad beans but it does.

4. Smoked meat or fish.  My preference here is for smoked trout, but bacon is also good as is chorizo sausage.  A lovely pasta dish includes smoked trout or bacon, garlic, lemon rind, pine nuts and broad beans, dressed with extra virgin olive oil.  The freshness of the lemon and the beans balance the richness of the bacon or trout really well.

5. Rice – I wondered about this – is rice really a flavour per se?  Its certainly textural, it certainly has a taste but is its taste really strong enough to be called a flavour?  Regardless of the answer to that question many of my favourite broad bean dishes are rice based or served with rice.  I love broad beans in paella.  I love them mixed through rice to be served with a chickpea (and chorizo) stew.  And I love them mixed through rice with loads of herbs and butter melted through it.  Decadent yes but also delicious.

And that was my broad bean top 5 – now I just have to wait another year before I can enjoy them all again.  I do use the frozen ones occasionally but it just isn’t the same.  Finally for any locals reading, the falafel at Half Moon Cafe in Coburg Mall is (according to Cheap Eats amongst other sources) made with broad beans rather than chickpeas and its really, really good.  Perhaps I’ll just have to get my broad bean fix there while I await my next crop.

Time to check out what The New Good Life has for us this week.

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21 Responses to Top 5 – Flavours that go well with Broad Beans

  1. Barbara Good says:

    I’ve had such a wonderful broad bean harvest this year and really have a taste for them too. Luckily I have quite a few frozen for later in the year.

    I agree with your list, but would also mention:
    butter – maybe not low fat, but gorgeous with broad beans.
    Asparagus and other seasonal greens – I make a couple of versions of a pasta dish with broad beans, asparagus, the last of the broccoli and some peas, very lightly blanched. One is a spring vegetable lasagna (Jamie’s) and the other you add a little vegetable stock and cream and stir it though penne.
    Potatoes – This ones from you Liz, I LOVE that potato, garlic and broad bean dish. Perfect.

    I heart broad beans!

    • Liz says:

      Oh yay – really excited you enjoyed the broad beans and potatoes. Not sure why I didn’t include spuds. I agree on the butter front too – I detest margarine and am inclined to indulge in more than a bit of butter now and then (read everyday….). I must give Jamie’s lasagne a try – I have all these intentions to try all these fabulous things I read about but then it gets to cooking time and somehow my brain goes blank and we have chicken curry for the umpteenth time this week….

  2. Pingback: Tuesday’s Top Five – This Year’s Rogue Vegetables | The New Good Life

  3. Bek says:

    Broad beans are nice, but I don’t love them like you obviously do. I make a similar sounding broad bean falafel from a Jamie Oliver recipe (no double shelling required – yay!) which is how I like them best.

    • Liz says:

      I will have a look for that recipe – sounds good. I always struggle with falafel so it would be nice to give a new recipe a try.

  4. What about with bacon (or pancetta) and shallots. (Shallot bit are vegetables) maybe adding some parsley.

  5. Daphne says:

    I’ve never gotten enough to experiment much with broad beans.

  6. Definitely expanding our planting of favas next season!

  7. Michelle says:

    One of my husband’s favorite broad bean preparations is a sort of hummus like spread – blanched fresh peeled beans pureed with olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and cumin. We love to pair it with sheep’s milk feta. I like to add some dried sweet or hot chile pepper flakes. It’s a great way to use frozen beans.

    I just cleared out some of my tomato plants yesterday and now I can sow some broad bean seeds!

  8. Yes, fresh are much better than frozen. I love broad beans in salads, with smoked fish, as you mentioned. Or just with plain garlic and olive oil. Good!

  9. Andrea says:

    A great range of flavors Liz, I planted scarlet flowered beans late this year and their only now ready to enjoy. Hubby now has a part time job delivering fine foods and he brings home a few specials,( delish Merideth Goats cheese) which I will try with your favorite No 2 dish.

    • Liz says:

      I hope you enjoy it. I’ve just finished my broad bean seed packet so I might give the scarlet flowered ones a try next year. Do you find them as prolific?

  10. Louise says:

    Nice choices! I would have to mention grated parmesan. Very much along the lines of your feta suggestion, but a little stronger. Panchetta and bacon too – but again along the lines of your smoked meats. Yum, wish I had some bbs.

    • Liz says:

      Ooooo yes – i love parmesan, and agree completely vis a vis the bacon/panchetta. I wish i had some more…. Seasonal crops are good like that – I think its nice to be left wanting more sometimes.

  11. Danielle says:

    If you haven’t tried ful medames, I highly recommend them. Very tasty!

    I haven’t tried growing fava beans before. I’ll definitely have to add them to my list for next year. 🙂

    • Liz says:

      Its funny I’ve read about them so often but I’m not sure that I’ve ever eaten them. Something to rectify for sure.

  12. Leanne Cole says:

    I’m afraid I don’t like broad beans, I can remember my mum trying to force us to eat them, couldn’t do it.

    • Liz says:

      I try my best not to force feed my kids anything in the hope that they will come round to it eventually, broad beans are one such vegetable – we’ll see if it works…..

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