Broad beans (sometimes known as fava beans) have only a short season (end of May to mid-July) so it makes sense to use these sweet, creamy beans whenever you can. The inspiration for this recipe came from a holiday in Puglia when we ate raw, just-picked broad beans with some ricotta that we had got freshly made from a local farmer, so fresh in fact that it was still warm when we got it home. It was a memorable lunch.
These long summer days lend themselves to this kind of food, a simple bruschetta with gorgeously fresh broad beans, creamy ricotta, finished with mint and some sea salt. It's quick to prepare, satisfying, with flavours that sing of summer. Oh, and to do it full justice, it really needs to be eaten outdoors, in the garden, on a sunny afternoon. Summer perfection.
I'm sending this over to Karen from the wonderful Lavender and Lovage for her Cooking with Herbs challenge, which consistently showcases delicious recipes featuring a whole array of herbs.
I'm not giving weights and quantities here as they're very much up to you but what you need are:
fresh broad beans
extra virgin olive oil
First, prepare the broad beans. Remove the beans from their pods and boil in non-salted water (the salt makes them tough) for about 2 minutes. Drain and place in a bowl of cold water. I double pod the beans for this bruschetta but it's up to you. I quite enjoy doing it, using my nail to slit the skin and then squeezing out the bright green bean inside.
Lightly toast whatever bread you are using under the grill and leave to cool slightly before spreading with some ricotta. Tumble over the broad beans and scatter with roughly chopped mint. Add a drizzle of olive oil and finish with some sea salt.