Beans for the Undeserving

I have an admission to make.  Despite having had seven weeks off this summer and despite having spent much of that time pottering about at home, my vegetable garden has been severely neglected these past few months and, as a result, has turned into a jungle.  Look at it!

If life were fair, I would have no crops to harvest at all within this tangled mess and my green-fingered, dilligent colleague would have lots growing in neat, weeded rows.  But life is not fair and, whilst my work-mate stamps the ground in produce-less frustration, I have more courgettes, chard, berries, salad leaves, spring onions and rhubarb than I can eat.

And then today when I attempted to tame the smothering french bean stalks (now I get the fairy tale) I discovered that I also have lots of broad beans protruding up from their stalks like upside down bananas. 

Don’t they look cosy?

Broad beans (fava beans to you North Americans) picked straight from the stalk are much sweeter and far more tender than those bought fresh or frozen in supermarkets.  Though most cookbooks recommend slipping the beans out of their skins after blanching, really fresh beans don’t need this treatment as the casings haven’t turned papery yet.  That said, I did skin the broadbeans for this salad.  Just ’cause it makes them a prettier colour though.

There’s no recipe here.  The salad consisted of halved cherry tomatoes (funny orange ones from a farmshop on the Black Isle) and blanched broad beans tossed in a peppery lemon-oil dressing (one part lemon, two parts extra virgin olive oil and plenty of pepper).  Very simple but very good.  🙂


This is my entry to Susan’s My Legume Love Affair event.


20 thoughts on “Beans for the Undeserving

  1. Your beans are doing a great deal better than ours. I think ours have given up!

    I love the insides of broad bean pods. They remind me of a song we used to sing in school at harvest time that had the line “broad beans are sleeping in their blankety beds”

  2. wonder how a vegie patch in Melbourne would go over summer without any attention in our heat – I am not a great lover of the heat but I think if you get a half hearted summer than maybe it is fair that you don’t have to work so much at your vegie garden! However, that salad would go down very nicely in our summer

  3. Kelsie – Too true. 🙂

    Jules – “Blankety bed” – that’s so cute!

    Sylvie – And it certainly is luck!

    Johanna – It has been perfect growing weather this year. Lots of rain and reasonably warm temperatures. 🙂

    Holler – It’s the weeds in my driveway which are driving me nuts just now. 🙂

    Lucy V – Thanks. It was rather. 🙂

  4. One of the things I love about fava beans is the down comforters in which they sleep. The inside of the bean pods is just so fluffy!

    Have you tried them whole on the grill yet, smeared with olive oil? The smoky beans you will pop out after grilling the pods will stand forever in your taste-memory–just a dusting of salt on the beans and you’ll be wishing you had them all year. Yum. I’m salivating just thinking of it.

    I hope your first week back went well.

  5. Oh there are many things that do quite well left to their own devices I think, one shouldn’t overdo it…:) your veggies look mouthwatering indeed!

  6. Pam – It really, really does!

    JennDZ – Thanks!

    Holler – Wonderful. 🙂

    Lucy – Aren’t they? Wish I had a blanket that soft.

    Christina – Ooooh, will most definitely be trying this out soon.

    Pia – It seems you are right!

  7. Hello Wendy,
    I write from Germany.
    Just found your pictures and recipe.
    In my garden I plant several rows of fava beans each year, for we all enjoy to eat this type of beans.
    They are absolutely deliscious when they are half ripe, when they are still tender, long as a finger and a half.
    They are washed, ends removed, each cut into about 5 to 7 parts.
    In very little lightly salted water they are cooked, only until they are “al dente”.
    Then they are drained, the water is not thrown away but used later, for it contains lots of vitamins.
    I cut two slices of smoked bacon into small pieces, then ad a cut up small onion, put this in the pot and let this become crisp, add a spoon full of flour under constant stirring and ad the cooking water. Season this with salt, pepper and add the herb savoury (genus satureja), preferably the fresh one.
    You could add a little heavy cream.
    Bet you like it.
    Happy bean growing in 2011!


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