Beans out of time

Temporally shifted beans

Temporally shifted beans

I know that it is entirely the wrong time of year to be harvesting broad beans, but I am… well, field beans at least.

Once again this year, I didn’t plant my bean seeds at the right time. I know that you can plant broad beans in the autumn for a nice, early crop the following year, but it doesn’t seem to work well round here. I think it is because it’s usually so wet over the winter, and the seeds tend to rot before they germinate. As a result, I try to plant my beans in the spring. This year, however, it was so cold in March that somehow it didn’t get done, and I ended up planting my runner and broad beans at pretty much the same time.

Never mind! It just means that I’m just starting to enjoy them now. Lots of people have had bad experiences with eating broad beans, but I think those are generally the huge, tough, mealy things that supermarkets seem to sell. I love them fresh out of the garden – removed from their squishy pods just before cooking. And my favourite recipe? It has to be one adapted from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (here’s the original):

Fry a finely chopped onion in oil until soft, add some chopped pancetta and allow that to crisp up, then toss in some fresh broad beans and  allow them to cook through.

Hugh eats his beans cooked this way on toast, but I like to serve this with sautéed potatoes cooked with paprika and garlic mayonnaise… yum. It’s a recipe that you could equally use for thinly sliced pole, runner or French beans.

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