Broad Beans With Cream And Dill, Courgette Cakes And Panko Prawns

Broad Beans With Cream And Dill, Courgette Cakes And Panko Prawns

It’s easy to turn a shopping basket full of greens into tasty and easy treats, perfect for sunny days and balmy evenings, quotes from arthicle mofongosphilly

Icome back from the market with a shopping bag that is entirely green. Bunches of mint and basil; the first peas and young broad beans from Italy; courgettes too. There are bunches of asparagus, lower in price now as the season comes to an end. Those gentle, early season flavours are worth celebrating – some of the asparagus will end up braised in olive oil and vermouth, to be eaten on toast soaked with the cooking juices. The courgettes will be grated and made into little cakes with parmesan and spring onion, and the peas will appear in a vivid green chutney to eat with crumbed and fried prawns.

I think of early summer as the green days in the kitchen, before the arrival of scarlet tomatoes and crimson summer fruits, those first few weeks of glorious sunshine before the real heat hits and all I want to eat is watermelon and feta cheese. These next few weeks are about cheering all that is new and vibrant, a shopping basket of new green shoots, pods and leaves. A time for uncomplicated cooking, of simple flavours, pure and new.

Summer Vegetables

The moment the new broad beans arrive, Italian first, then locally grown, I want to crack open their bulging pods, flick the tiny kidney-shaped beans from their downy swaddling and scoff them raw. Any bigger than your little fingernail are better cooked, plunged into furiously bubbling water for 3-4 minutes, then drained and tossed with olive oil and chopped mint to be eaten with a scoop of milk-white ricotta.

Another way is to cook them with the season’s other early risers, peas and asparagus and cloves of the waxy new garlic, so sweet and mild you wonder what it, too, would be like raw. I use it to scent olive oil – just a passing whiff – then simmer the vegetables with a dry white vermouth, such as Noilly Prat, or a slightly fruity white wine. The resulting braised vegetables are piled on to open textured bread, such as sourdough or ciabatta, lightly toasted and saturated with the green-gold juices from the pan. If you have some young, soft-leaved herbs to hand – mint, parsley or basil – now is their moment, so their fragrance wafts up from the warm vegetables.

Serves 4
olive oil 75ml
courgettes 1 medium
asparagus 12 spears, trimmed
garlic 2 cloves of new season
white vermouth or white wine 125ml
broad beans 250g, podded weight
peas 200g, podded weight
parsley, basil and mint a good handful
sourdough bread 4 slices
olive oil

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