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Recipe: A Warm Salad of Braised Borlottis
I have certain routines when it comes to food shopping. There is the work related sort which has me in the supermarkets at least a couple of times a week (no real hardship, a neighbour often comes with me & I natter with the check out staff, most of whom I’ve known since I was pregnant with my 13 yr old), the visits to my lovely butcher and the international grocers up and down the Uxbridge Road which are invaluable for their variety and for the fact that in these post Brexit days, they are never low on stock unlike the supermarkets…
The weekend is more about the markets. It is a very unusual Saturday that has me missing a trip to Ealing Farmers Market. This is regardless of weather – in fact, I won’t miss a market if there is driving, horizontal rain, my reasoning being that if the stall holders can brave it for several hours, I can for a few minutes. Also - walking in bad weather is good for you. This really helps push me outdoors when I am struggling with my self imposed regime of trying to walk 5 miles a day. Anyway - Ealing Farmers Market is a really honest, produce based market, more about ingredients than ready to eat. You can buy a Lincolnshire sausage hot dog or bacon bap but that is just about it for hot food.
Regularly the trip to the farmers market will combine with a longer walk – we’ll walk to the farmers market, reserve some of the things that sell out quickly - eggs, for example, Rutland sausages which are the East Anglian answer to the very garlicky Toulouse, sprout tops when they are in season, sika venison, and goat’s curd which is a once a month treat. Then we’ll walk through the parks to have breakfast at Pulp in South Ealing who do excellent pastries and filter coffee (cholesterol friendly, unlike anything espresso based, important for Shariq) and sell tubs of pecorino truffled nuts neither of us can can resist. Then next door to Ealing Grocers for Rye By the Water bread and a few treat groceries which will supplement the regular stuff. Soft serve if they have it (the saffron is the best). Then a walk back to pick up the reserved items.
This Saturday was one of those days. Ealing Grocers had the first borlotti beans I’ve seen so far this season and beautiful lemons and courgettes. Plus Ealing Farmers market had goat curd. So this is what I used.
But before I start – this can all be made with any types of courgettes (or green beans - later in the season, runner beans would be fab), a crumbly fresh goat’s cheese and dried beans, and it will taste wonderful. If you want to make it from dried borlotti beans I would advise soaking to save time and for better texture. Remember to add a teaspoon of salt to the soaking water, then drain, cover in water again and cook in the same way as I cook the fresh beans here. Or don’t bother soaking and cook at high pressure for 20 minutes, NPR. And you may as well do the whole 500g bag at once - they’ll freeze well and keep in the fridge for a week.
If using fresh beans, the you will get just over half the weight in beans once podded. So I bought 450g beans in their pods and it gave me 250g podded beans. This was just enough for 2 people in this meal, enough for 4 for a pasta e fagioli type thing.
Oh – and a note on flavour. You may be perplexed by the ginger. Anyone who has my book Leaf will know that I love the ginger/rosemary combination. I usually have ginger rosemary and use it a lot, but it died this winter and I have yet to replenish. But I love ginger root and rosemary too. Here it just gives everything a lift.
For the beans:
250g podded fresh borlotti beans
1 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
2 pieces pared lemon zest
A few sprigs rosemary
For the courgettes:
2 tbsp olive oil
2 long, skinny courgettes, finely sliced
3 garlic cloves, finely sliced
1 sprig rosemary, finely chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
Zest of ½ lemon
For the salad:
150g cherry tomatoes, roughly chopped
½ red onion, finely sliced
½ tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
1 tsp lemon juice
For the goat’s curd:
3-4 tbsp curd
2 tbsp olive oil
1 sprig rosemary, very finely chopped
10g ginger, finely grated
First put the borlotti beans in your pressure cooker with 1 tsp salt. Add the oil, rosemary and garlic and cover with cold water. Bring up to high pressure. You now have a choice. Cook for 1 minute at high pressure, then remove from the heat and leave to stand for 45 minutes OR cook for 7 minutes at high pressure, remove from the heat and open the lid as soon as the pressure has dropped naturally.
Next make the salad – put the tomatoes and onions in a bowl, sprinkle with the oregano and ½ tsp salt and drizzle over the vinegar. Leave to stand for half an hour.
Make the flavoured oil. Add the rosemary and ginger to the oil and season with salt. Leave to infuse.
To cook the courgettes, heat your pressure cooker before adding any oil – remember that doing so will help the stainless steel become more non stick. Add the oil – it should glide across the base of your cooker with ease – and leave it to heat for 30 seconds. Add the courgettes and quickly sear. Add the garlic and cook for a little longer, then season with salt and pepper. Add the rosemary. Mix the lemon juice with a couple of tablespoons of water, add this to the cooker and immediately have your lid ready to click into place. Adding the liquid will create a lot of steam and you should find that your pressure cooker comes up to pressure almost immediately.
For al dente courgettes, do zero minute pressure and fast release straight away. For a slightly softer texture, do zero minutes, leave off the heat for 1 minute, then fast release the remaining pressure.
To assemble, divide the beans and the cooking liquor between two bowls and top with the courgettes. Grate over the lemon zest. Add the salad and the goat’s curd, then drizzle with the oil. Serve hot or at room temperature.
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