The Taste Of Summer

3rd July 2009

Eating seasonally is never easier than at the height of summer, when peas and beans – broad, green and runner – are at the peak of perfection. Ideal served simply as an accompaniment to other fresh summer flavours, they’re also great ingredients for a range of fabulous tasting recipes with culinary influences from across the globe.

Scrambled Eggs with Serrano Ham,
Peas & Mint, Served on Sourdough Toast

Serves 4

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes


200g shelled peas (approx 400g unshelled)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped mint
8 slices sourdough or ciabatta
8 eggs
85g Serrano ham, torn into strips (Parma ham is fine too)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


1.Cook the peas in boiling salted water for 3-4 minutes until just tender, drain and set aside.

2.In a heavy bottomed saucepan gently fry the garlic in the olive oil for 1 minute, taking care not to burn it.

3.Add the cooked peas and the chopped mint and season well with salt and pepper.

4.Toast the sourdough, butter it and keep warm on serving plates.

5.Scramble the eggs until not quite set. Be careful not to overcook the egg as it will continue to cook when it is off the heat – this is not the time for rubbery eggs! Take off the heat and add the Serrano ham, cooked peas, garlic and mint and stir briefly to mix though the egg.

6.Spoon the egg over the toast, garnish with a little extra mint, and eat immediately.

Chilled Pea, Mint & Mascarpone Soup

Serves 4
Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking: 17 minutes
Chilling: several hours


25g butter
1 onion, finely chopped
400g podded peas
600ml vegetable or chicken stock
75g mascarpone (plus extra for serving - optional)
2 tablespoons chopped mint leaves, plus extra leaves for garnishing
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Salt and pepper
Ice cubes, to serve


1. Heat the butter in a large, heavy-based saucepan. Add the onion and cook over gentle heat for about 10 minutes until soft but not coloured. Add the peas and the stock, bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer for another 7 minutes.

2. Reserve a few whole peas for garnishing, then puree the soup in a blender or food processor (you may need to do this in batches). Transfer the soup to a clean bowl. Whisk in the mascarpone, then add the mint and lemon juice. Add salt and pepper to taste. Allow the soup to cool, then cover and chill in the refrigerator for several hours.

3. To serve, put 2 or 3 ice cubes in individual bowls, ladle the chilled soup over and garnish with the reserved peas, mint leaves and a dollop of mascarpone (optional).

Crostini with Marinated Broad Beans, Red Peppers & Ricotta

Serves 4 as a light lunch or starter,
or 8 as a canapé
Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking: 40 minutes plus marinating


3 red peppers
250g podded broad beans (about 500g unpodded)
3 tablespoons best-quality balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
8 slices of sourdough or ciabatta
150g ricotta cheese


1. Roast the peppers whole in the oven (200°C/gas mark 5) for 30-40 minutes until they are soft and tinged with a bit of colour.

2. While the peppers are cooking boil the broad beans for 4-5 minutes until tender. Unless they are very young and fresh it’s a good idea to squeeze them out of their shells once cooked - you will be rewarded with a deliciously tender bean.

3. Once the peppers are cooked leave to cool a little then peel and deseed. Slice along the length into thin strips.

4. Mix the peppers and broad beans in a bowl with the balsamic, olive oil and garlic. Season to taste and leave to marinate at room temperature for an hour if possible – the flavour will improve.

5. Just before you are ready to eat, brush 8 slices of sourdough or ciabatta with olive oil and griddle or grill until toasted.

6. Top each slice with a generous spoonful of the bean and pepper mixture and crumble the ricotta on top.

7. Finish with a drizzle more extra virgin olive oil and eat immediately.

Pappardelle with Green Beans in a Cream, Herb & Lemon Sauce

Serves 4
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 12 minutes


350g dried Pappardelle, or other wide ribbon pasta
25g unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, crushed
350ml double cream
4 teaspoons finely chopped mixed herbs (rosemary, thyme & sage are great)
Zest and juice of 2 lemons
80g finely grated parmesan, plus extra to serve
Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
300g green beans, tailed & cut into two
50g finely chopped flat leaf parsley


1. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the packet instructions.

2. Whilst the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a small heavy bottomed saucepan and gently fry the garlic for a minute or so, taking care not to burn it.

3. Add the cream and gently heat until it is just coming to boiling point, then add the herbs, lemon zest and juice.

4. Add the parmesan and stir to mix. Taste the sauce and season carefully with plenty of freshly ground black pepper and a little sea salt. Keep warm over a low heat.

5. Cook the green beans in a pan of salted water until just tender (about 3-4 minutes), drain well and add to the sauce.

6. Drain the pasta and toss it through the cream sauce.

7. Serve immediately with extra parmesan sprinkled on top.

Thai Coconut Chicken Soup with Green Beans & Peas

Serves 4
Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking: 1 hour 15 minutes


2 lemongrass stalks
1 litre chicken stock (homemade is best)
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh ginger
6 lime leaves or 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped lime zest
6 finely sliced shallots
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
3 tablespoons fish sauce
4 tablespoons lime juice
2 red chillies, deseeded and finely sliced
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon red curry paste
1 tin coconut milk
100g green beans cut into 2-3 cm lengths
100g shelled peas (approx 200g unshelled)
Handful of fresh Thai basil leaves (normal basil is fine if you can’t find Thai)


1. Remove the tough outer layers of the lemon grass and slice into 4 cm strips, crushing lightly with the blade of a heavy knife.

2. Put the chicken stock in a pan and bring to the boil. Add the ginger, lemongrass, lime leaves (or lime zest) and half the shallots. Reduce the heat cover and simmer for an hour.

3. Strain the stock through a sieve and return to the pan.

4. Cut the chicken into 2.5cm chunks & add to the strained stock with the fish sauce, lime juice, chillies, sugar, red curry paste, coconut milk & the remaining shallots. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

5. Add the peas and beans and simmer for a further 3-4 minutes until the vegetables are just tender and the chicken is cooked – approx. 10 minutes.

6. Garnish with the basil leaves and serve immediately

Pea, Smoked Salmon & Dill Tart

Serves 4 as a light lunch,
8-10 as a canapé
Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking: 15-20 minutes


1 pack ready-rolled puff pastry
250g mascarpone cheese
2 tablespoons finely chopped dill
Juice of ½ a lemon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
200g pack of smoked salmon trimmings
100g cooked peas (approx 200g unshelled)


1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/gas mark 6

2. Unroll the puff pastry and cut down the length into 2 pieces. Lightly score a line 1 cm round the edge of each piece.

3. Mix the mascarpone with the dill and lemon juice and season well with salt and pepper. Spread over the pastry, taking care to keep the mixture within the scored edge.

4. Cut the smoked salmon into ribbons and arrange with the peas over the top of the herby mascarpone, pushing them lightly into cheese. It doesn’t want to look too regimented, more of an artful scattering. Bake in the oven for about 15-20 minute until the pastry is crisp and golden.

5. Sprinkle with a little extra dill and cut into slices. Serve with some peppery leaves like rocket or watercress.

Warm New Potato, Broad Bean & Chorizo Salad, with Garlic Mayonnaise

Serves 4 as a main course
or 8 as a starter
Preparation: 25 minutes
Cooking: 25 minutes


800g new potatoes
300g podded broad beans (approx 600g unpodded)
1 Chorizo sausage ring or 200g cubed raw chorizo
2 Little Gem lettuces
Handful of black olives
1 tablespoon flat leaf parsley, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Garlic Mayonnaise:
4 generous tablespoons of good quality mayonnaise
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed

1. Cut the potatoes into 1cm cubes and bring to the boil in a pan of salted water. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until tender, drain and set aside.

2. Cook the broad beans in a pan of boiling water until tender (approx 4-5 minutes). Unless your broad beans are very young it’s worth removing the outer shell of each bean by squeezing gently.

3. Fry the chorizo in a dry pan (the sausage will release enough of its own oil to fry it in) until golden and crispy.

4. Add the cooked potatoes to the pan along with the broad beans and toss to coat in the spicy sausage oil.

5. Line a big bowl with little gem leaves and pile the potato mixture on top, finish off with the olives and a scattering of parsley. Serve with the garlic mayonnaise.

6. Alternatively for a starter, place 2 salad leaves on a plate and add a generous spoonful to each leaf, topped with olives and parsley and a dollop of the mayo.

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