Broad beans are easy to grow and extremely delicious, heralding the end of the gap between late autumn and the beginning of plentiful summer harvests
Broad Bean & Lobster Salad
150g fresh young broad beans podded (and 350g in pods)
250g small new potatoes
2 live lobsters (about 450g each)
100ml extra virgin olive oil
2.5 tbsp lemon juice
4 tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
8-inch freshly cured anchovy fillets (sold loose at refrigerated deli counters)
Salt and black pepper
1. If your broad beans are anything other than very tiny and young you will need to skin them, as otherwise the skins are tough and leathery. This makes them chewy to eat and you don’t get that lovely bright green colour in the salad. Blanch the beans in boiling, salted water for four to five minutes. Drain them and refresh them in cold water.Gently squeeze each broad bean out of its skin. This is a time-consuming job, but it can be satisfying. Set them aside.
2. Put the potatoes into a saucepan of boiling, salted water and cook for 15-20 minutes or until just tender.
3. Meanwhile, drop the lobsters into another large pan of boiling salted water and clamp on the lid quickly. When the water returns to the boil, cook the lobsters for five minutes. Drain the lobsters and refresh them under cold running water in order to stop them cooking further. This will also help to keep the lobster flesh nice and moist.
4. With the aid of a sharp knife, crack open the lobster shells and remove the meat, in whole pieces if possible. Do the same with the claws. Mix together the oil and the lemon juice and drizzle a little of this dressing over the lobster meat in order to keep it moist and succulent. Set it aside.
5. When the potatoes are just cooked, drain them thoroughly. Return them to their hot pan and cover with a tea towel or some newspaper and leave them to dry a little. When they have cooled enough to handle, slice them fairly thickly. Mix them with the beans and toss gently with the remaining dressing. Fold in the parsley and season with salt and pepper.
6. Divide the parsley and bean salad between four plates and heap it in the centre of each. Now, slice the lobster body meat into neat discs (this is why it’s important to try to get it out of the shell completely intact but don’t worry, the taste won’t be affected if the presentation is not entirely neat) and lay them on the salad. Do the same with the claw meat and add to the plate in whole pieces. Then, finally, lay the anchovies on top.