Pre­par­ing springveg

Bri­tish as­para­gus and broad beans aren’t around for long, so en­joy them in abun­dance at their best – for maximum fresh­ness, pre­pare and cook them as soon as you can af­ter pick­ing or buy­ing


Broad beans

Pre­par­ing broad beans prop­erly takes a bit of time, but it’s well worth do­ing, as the beans look and taste a lot bet­ter when you re­move their skins. In the past, we have re­ferred to the two-step prep as pod­ding and dou­ble pod­ding. But to avoid any con­fu­sion, we now de­scribe it as pod­ding (re­mov­ing the beans from the main pod) and then skin­ning (slip­ping the beans out of their thin skins).

Pod­ding To re­move the beans, squeeze the « ` Õ Ì Ì « «Ã > ` ÀÕ Þ ÕÀ w }iÀ ` Ü the in­side to release the beans. Add to a pan of boil­ing wa­ter and cook for 1-2 mins. Drain and tip into a bowl of cold wa­ter.

Skin­ning use your nail to slit the skin of the cooked bean, then gen­tly pinch it to push out the bright green, smaller bean. In our opin­ion, even smaller beans are bet­ter when skinned.


- > w i ÃÌi à ii` ÕÃÌ > Ü>à ] >Ã Ì iÞ will be ten­der along the whole length. For longer, thicker as­para­gus, bend the stem un­til it snaps and dis­card the tougher, paler end. It should snap in just the right place to get rid of the woody sec­tion. Trim with a sharp knife so all the spears are the same length. You can then peel any re­main­ing tough skin on the bot­tom half of each spear with a peeler to re­veal the more ten­der yià ° 7 iÌ iÀ Þ Õ L ] ÃÌi> À }À `` i as­para­gus, the trick is to keep cook­ing to a min­i­mum – a few min­utes is all it needs.

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