‘More pepper, ladies?’ I’d rather have broad beans

Last weekend. Paris. Too lazy even to open a guide book, I and my friend (a fellow mother of small children – ie punch drunk with exhaustion and a need for essential oils, complimentary shower caps and an evening in front of the Eurovision Song Contest)  asked at the hotel front desk for a restaurant recommendation.

This is risky. The second night, we hit dross with La Rotonde where I felt like we’d wandered into that Victoria Wood sketch where the waiter looms leeringly over two sunburnt female holidaymakers with a giant pepper grinder – ‘More pepper, ladies’ – flirting patronisingly in search of a tip, which obviously being British and terrified of offending, we gave anyway. But the first night we hit gold with Le Timbre, a tres intime little place who’s English chef (I know, alarm bells did initially ring) wowed us with the usual French fare of snails and duck, but most importantly a fillet of cod on a bed of succulent broad beans of the brightest emerald, coaxed to perfection with a smattering of lardons.

We strolled through the Jardins du Luxembourg, wondered why Parisians in the 6th arrondisement need so many children’s clothes shops when, by the looks of it, there have no actual children, and marvelled at how very French France is (queues outside patisseries! old women looking like Brigitte Bardot!  little dogs!  little dog shit!).

But, safely returned on the Eurostar, it’s those broad beans that I keep thinking about. This is because I have very little capacity for high culture and a very high capacity for food. However pretty the Georges Pompidou Centre is, you can’t eat it. But mainly it’s because the broad beans in my garden are just about ready to pick and the bar has now been well and truly raised. So how do I recreate that perfect broad bean dish?

Does one steam them or boil? Obviously you have to pop them out of their grey pods to avoid wading through a dish of saddlebags, but when? What oil do you use? What bacon? What herbs? Do they need lemon juice? The questions are endless, I need answers…

3 thoughts on “‘More pepper, ladies?’ I’d rather have broad beans”

  1. thanks for that. Might try the puree – what do you have it with though? Pasta? Last night was the grand unveiling of the broad beans – flame-grilled tuna drizzled with oregano oil on a bed of podded broad beans and peas (thank you Bird’s Eye) dressed with mint, lemon juice and olive oil. Obviously I didn’t come up with a recipe that impressive, Jamie did. Now I just have to work out how to get the 2 year old to eat the broad beans. Telling him that peas were ‘little apples’ worked last night. Manipulation and deception, it’s never too young to start…

  2. Oh yes, broad beans and bacon have a real affinity.
    I really enjoy taking off their little grey coats to reveal the emeralds beneath.
    I steam them normally.
    We went through a plethora of bb recipes last year as we grew so many but I’m worried I haven’t got enough this year.Broad bean puree is good – puree in a liquidiser with some olive oil and some garlic. Oh, and broad bean and calves liver risotto was quite good, too, and I’m not a real offal fan.

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