This is a luscious and cooling accompaniment to many dishes. It stands up well against anything with a lot of heat, and is especially good with fiery spice mixes like chermoula, or any way with lamb, as well as anything that arrives on a plate via a barbecue. With the freshness of both mint and lemon, it brings springtime flavours to any time of the year.
Like peas and corn kernels, broad beans (sometimes called fava beans) are whitelisted in my kitchen as frozen veggies. If you can find them fresh, more power to you. Otherwise, the frozen version is fine. Having to pod them takes a little time, but I enjoy the simple, repetitive nature of the task, and I can catch up with whatever I’m trying to binge-watch while I do it.
To infuse the olive oil with lemon flavour, I make fine strips of zest with a zesting tool. You could also use a vegetable peeler, then cut the zest into very fine strips. As the zest soaks, it softens considerably, so it’s not as chewy as you might imagine. If you would prefer your lemon zest in a less obvious form, simply grate it off the lemon instead.
The mint here is not a timid garnish: it’s a salad leaf. Use the leaves whole where you can and just roughly tear the larger leaves.
With the beans podded – which you can do in advance and stash in the fridge – the rest of the recipe is simply assembling, so it’s easy to put together at the last minute.
Broad bean salad with mint, feta and lemon oil
A luscious and cooling side dish to bring fresh, springtime flavours to any time of year.
250g (½ pound) frozen broad beans (gives you 180g podded beans)
a large handful of mint leaves, roughly torn if very large
1 lemon (zest and a tablespoon of the juice)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
25g (1 oz) feta
sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
Cook the beans, from frozen, in lightly salted boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold running water to stop them cooking any more. Let them cool a little and peel them by popping them out of their skins.
Place the beans and mint in your serving bowl. Whisk a tablespoon of lemon juice into the lemony oil, along with salt and pepper, adjust to taste, then pour over, giving a gentle toss to dress. Finish with a crumbling of feta.