Sunday, December 13, 2009

ricotta, hazelnut and broad bean salad

How I love broad beans! Their subtle flavour, spring-fresh texture, bouncy greenness... I've been using broad beans in every way possible in the past few months. They are very cheap at the moment - I've been getting them for $2.50 a kilo - but they will not be around for much longer. They are also not as fantastic as at the beginning of spring, but I will continue to buy them until they disappear. They command so much attention - first you have to pod them, and then painstakingly take each one out of its skin. You can feel a little sucked in after buying a whole kilo of them, shelling them carefully, and then ending up with a little green puddle of beans which hardly covers the bottom of a bowl. The best way, I've found, of overcoming the repetitious nature of shelling broad beans is to take them away from the kitchen and do it with a friend whilst sitting on the couch.

This salad is a broad bean vehicle - creamy ricotta and crunchy hazelnuts coat quickly blanched broad beans and asparagus (another love!), which is tossed with rocket, and then a dressing made with honey and apple cider vinegar.

ricotta, hazelnut and broad bean salad

1 kilo unpodded broadbeans
1 bunch asparagus (or green beans), rinsed
100 grams fresh ricotta
handful of hazelnuts
2 handfuls rocket, rinsed
2 tablespoons honey
4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste

Dry toast the hazelnuts in a pan until slightly brown. Remove from pan and allow to cool. Chop or crush roughly.

Pod and peel the broad beans and trim asparagus into 5cm pieces. Blanch both vegetables for 1 1/2 minutes in a pot of boiling water. Drain immediately.

Place rocket, asparagus and broad beans in a salad bowl. Add ricotta and toasted hazelnuts and gently stir.

In a small frypan, heat apple cider vinegar until it starts to simmer. Add the honey and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat. Drizzle the vinegar and honey dressing over the vegetables and stir gently.

Sprinkle salad with a pinch or two of salt and plenty of cracked black pepper.

Serves 2 - 3

I served the salad with some pan fried chicken marinated in chilli and apple cider vinegar, but the salad stole the show.


Cindy said...

Yum - and perfect for this season!

Fi said...

Wow - that looks good. I'll have to try it!

Cindy said...

Hello from the future, five years hence! After bookmarking this recipe when you published it, I finally made it this October and posted about it tonight. It was totally worth the wait. Thank you.