Sound odd? Yes, I thought so at first but, well, broad beans and bacon are natural frying-pan fellows, chillis are always good with green veg and tahini is one of those things that I always mean to break out of its hummus rut. And this is a Peter Gordon recipe and, as the book I have just bought tells me, he is not a man scared to put flavours together. I was inspired to make this because I rather overbought vegetables at the farmers’ market at the weekend. Obviously feeling in need of a vitamin boost after my bout of sickness and exhaustion, I threw my usual 2-shelf-fridge-only-buy-a-couple-of-veg-at-a-time-or-it-will-rot caution to the wind and ended up with, erm, broad beans and peas, cauliflower, radishes, new potatoes, plum tomatoes and sweet potatoes. I already had some aubergine and half a spring cabbage lurking at home. So for the rest of this week, instead of defrosting the icebox full of bits of chicken and lamb, I am going all vegetarian on you, in an attempt to use some of it up. Well, almost vegetarian. Bacon doesn’t count does it?
Now, having made this all of once, I’m going to make it slightly differently next time. Peter Gordon leaves the skins on the beans but, since this makes eating them as fun as chewing the back leg of an elephant, and something I’ve avoided since school, it’s best to get rid of them. Before starting the recipe, blanch the beans in boiling water for about 2-3 minutes, drain and rinse immediately in cold water and (painstaking this I’m afraid) peel off the skins and use as below. Or, if you prefer, fry them in olive oil until they split, leave to cool and, again, peel off the skins. I think the crème fraîche isn’t really that important; I ate one lot without it and one with and I thought the flavour was better in the first version.
Finally, the book’s recipes tend to serve six or eight, hence some of the odd measurements below when making it for two and I’d say the amounts make this more of a snack-on-the-run dinner than something substantial. Bigger appetites might need to double it.
Broad bean, bacon, chilli, tahini salad in pitta breads (adapted from Peter Gordon’s Cook at Home)
For two you will need:
Cupboard (or things you may already have)
olive oil, 1 tablespoon
onion, ¼ medium white one
garlic, ½ clove
balsamic vinegar, 1 teaspoon
sea salt and black pepper, to taste
streaky bacon, 25g (a couple of rashers)
shelled broad beans, 100g (about 400g of unpodded ones)
small red chilli, ½
fresh mint, about a tablespoon of leaves
tahini, a tablespoon
pitta breads, 2 small
crème fraîche, 20ml (or a heaped tablespoon)
1. Blanch or fry the beans for a couple of minutes until the skins split/separate, cool and then shell.
2. Whilst the beans are cooling, cut the bacon and chilli up into small pieces, peel and slice the onion, peel and crush the garlic and, if necessary, rinse the mint.
3. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan.
4. Fry the bacon until crisp then add the de-skinned beans and chilli. Stir well and cook for a minute or two.
5. Add the onion and garlic to the beans and bacon, stir in well and cook for another minute.
6. Whilst the onion is cooking, you can, if you want, heat the pitta breads up briefly (a minute in a toaster will do it) then split them.
7. Take the pan off the heat, stir in the tahini, balsamic vinegar and mint.
8. Divide the salad between the breads and, if you want, season and add a dessertspoon of crème fraîche.