Today, the sun was shining. We sat outside with our faces raised and let ourselves bask in that delicious warmth. Warmth. It has been a long time coming down here but oh, when it arrives, it melts away all of winter’s frustrations. Grumpiness disappears and you are left with a smile. The kids and I decided to make the most of it and spend some time in the garden.
We have a smallish vegetable patch that we like to potter around in. I couldn’t say we have the greenest thumbs, but we love experimenting and celebrate our successes in great style. The broccoli and cauliflower never really got anywhere but the beetroot has been great. The snow peas were a great success but the onions are still missing in action. The rainbow chard and silverbeet are thick and lush and so is the kale but the spinach had to be left to the snails…oh well, we’re happy to share.
My pride and joy, however, are the broad beans. We have been nurturing them, talking to them and they have delivered. Today was the first harvest…
I have been waiting so patiently, but finally, there were enough pods to collect and shell in order to make broad bean crostini…one of my favourite things to eat, ever!
I LOVE anything Italian and would happily abandon all of my dairy and wheat free eating if I returned to Italy faster than you could say cappucino…however, I was restrained with this recipe. You can easily modify it to suit your own needs.
Smashed Broad Bean and Pecorino Crostini
Makes enough for 4-6 crostini
What you need:
4-6 slices of crusty spelt bread or nice sour dough baguette
1 clove of garlic, cut in half
Good Extra Virgin Olive Oil
About 2 handfuls of broad beans – to make about 2 cups after podding
Grated Firm Pecorino (usually made from Sheeps milk) to taste (about 1/4 of a cup)
Pinch of sea salt
Grind of black pepper
What to do:
Remove the broad beans from their pods. Plunge into boiling water for about 30 seconds, then remove, drain and add to a bowl of ice cold water…this helps retain the vibrant green colour of the beans.
Remove from the water and shell the beans, removing the outer layer and revealing the cute, green bean inside.
Place all beans in a mortar and pestle and smash (but not puree – kids love doing this!). You could also do this in a bowl with a fork.
Add the pecorino, a good drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Okay, now you need to grill your bread, or toast it. While it is still warm, rub it with the halved garlic clove and drizzle with a little oil. Then smear over your smashed broad beans.
Top with a little extra pecorino and enjoy without delay!
I can honestly say that this crostini is fresh, delicious, filling, tasty and would knock the socks off your guests if you served it as a starter for lunch with a cold glass of prosecco. I’m having it again for breakfast tomorrow!
Of course, after such a delightful lunch, more gardening was done and then the obligatory afternoon tea. I hope the sunshine sticks around…it really brings a smile to my face!
What do you have growing in your veggie patch? Are you fair weather gardeners like us? How do you make the most of the sunshine?