Every few weeks my sister and I like to get together for lunch, to catch up on each others latest news. Sometimes we meet at a restaurant, but more often than not we meet up and cook something together, which is exactly what we did last weekend. We have a few rules for such occasions:
1) The food must be something neither of us has made before
2) It must be vegetarian
3) It must be gluten free
With a little recipe hunting, this is not actually as difficult as it sounds. We sent a few emails back and forth, discussing ideas, but in the end it was a simple dish by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall that won. Some of you may remember he did a River Cottage Veg series on TV a few months back, where he lived and cooked only vegetarian food for the summer. I absolutely adored the series, and a dish that really stood out to me was his broad bean bruschetta.
We ended up making a few tweaks to his recipe, but the essence of it was Hugh’s. We didn’t have enough broad beans and so substituted some peas, used extra mint in the puree and added some fresh lemon juice and zest to the mix, which I think always goes wonderfully with fresh mint and peas. Oh, and obviously we served in on toasted gluten free pitta and ciabatta bread.
The results were absolutely delicious! Considering how simple the ingredients and method is, the flavours and textures at the end were fabulous. The broad beans were soft and creamy, while the peas stayed a little chunky, giving it a nice texture. The dollops of ricotta on top were milky and fresh, while the mint and lemon were the perfect summery seasonings. I really don’t use mint often enough. So good, we both agreed it’s definitely one we’ll make again.
It would be delicious to take along on a picnic too, sealed in little pots with some breads or crisps for dipping. Thanks Hugh!
Minty Broad Bean & Ricotta Bruschetta
(Recipe adapted from River Cottage Veg Every Day)
1 x 300g tin broad beans (200g drained weight)
75g thawed frozen peas
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp fresh lemon zest
8 fresh mint leaves (approx)
Salt and pepper
60g ricotta, feta or goats cheese
Toasted GF pitta or ciabatta bread
Drain the broad beans and remove their outer skins. Place into a bowl along with the thawed peas. Mash roughly using a potato masher.
Melt the butter in a small frying pan, finely chop the garlic and add to the pan. Fry gently until the garlic is just beginning to colour, you don’t want it brown though!
Add the butter and garlic to the bean mixture and mash well to create a chunky puree. (The peas won’t break down much, but this is fine.)
Finely chop the mint and add most of it to the bean mix, reserving a little for garnish. Stir in the lemon juice, zest and season with salt and pepper. (Add a little olive oil if you thick it’s too dry)
Lightly toast your pitta bread or ciabatta and place onto warm plates.
Pile the minty bean puree on top of the hot bread and dot on a few spoonfuls of ricotta or crumble over some goats cheese or feta. Scatter over the reserved mint and a final squeeze of lemon juice.
Serve with a colourful side salad and enjoy!