This summery salad is so deliciously fresh, using broad beans and radishes which are in plentiful supply at this time of year. I love broad beans, although I do remember a time when the little shrivelled grey offerings on my school dinner plate quickly got pushed to the side! When I discovered the transformation a broad bean takes on when popped out of its outer rubbery shell, it took on a whole new life. Firstly the colour is so amazing, a vibrant lime green, the texture, smooth and tender, and the taste is so good. I generally use them in salads rather than as a vegetable accompaniment. I love the process of popping them out of the pods, opening each one to discover the beans nestled inside the fur linings, but then I am a bit of a softy! Removing the outer skin once cooked is also a great family job, especially when they ping across the work surface!
The only disappointment with broad beans is the yield. A 500g bag full of broad bean pods only produces about 125g of broad beans. The young ones are delicious eaten raw out of the pod, but if cooking them, they really only need and 1-2 minutes depending on size. If broad beans aren’t in season then frozen are a good substitute, especially if you can buy the small ones. Simply blanch in boiling water and pop them out of their skins or as they’ve already been blanched as part of the freezing process you could just defrost them, pop them out of their skins and throw into a salad!
I think radishes are one of those love/hate vegetables or perhaps one that we think we don’t like but actually enjoy it if its in a recipe! Personally, I wouldn’t crunch on a whole radish but they are so good finely sliced into salads or used as a garnish, adding a fresh splash of colour. In this recipe I tried soaking the radish and onion in white wine vinegar before adding to the salad. This succeeded in removing the harsh biting flavour of raw onion and gave the radish a very gently pickled flavour. Don’t be tempted to leave them soaking for too long though as the colour starts to run out of them and they begin to taste far too vinegary! 10-15 minutes should be enough.
1kg fresh broad beans in pods (about 250g yield)
40g red onion
2tbsp white wine vinegar
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1tbsp olive oil
1tbsp lemon juice
1tbsp chopped fresh mint
2tbsp chopped fresh coriander
Remove the broad beans from their pods and blanch in boiling salted water for 1-2 minutes depending on size. Drain and plunge into cold water.
Meanwhile wash and thinly slice the radishes. Peel and thinly slice the onion. Place in a small bowl with the vinegar and a good pinch of salt. Leave to stand for about 15 minutes stirring occasionally.
Drain the beans and remove the skins by gently pinching a hole in the outer shell and then squeezing the bean out. Don’t press too hard or you’ll end up with a bowl of crushed broad beans!
Drain the onions and radishes, discarding the vinegar. Combine all the remaining ingredients together with plenty of seasoning and gently stir until combined. Serve immediately or cover and stand for up to an hour before serving. This is best served on the day its made.
Serves 4 as an accompaniment.
The fresh tangy flavour of the salad is so perfect with fish. I’ve served this with roasted salmon or barbecued tuna. It also makes a great accompaniment to grilled vegetables and halloumi. You could also add crumbled feta cheese for a really great salad and serve with herby quinoa, mixed salad leaves and delicious tiny tomatoes fresh of the vin. You could also add a little Parma ham on the side.