Sometimes the best things in life are the simplest and you do not get better or simpler that broad beans, a little parmesan and some good olive oil on a lovely piece of toast. But as always with the simplest things, it is imperative that every ingredient is great quality. Obviously there is no need to mention that Riverford’s broad beans are going to be fantastic. As for the olive oil and parmesan – well, again, Riverford supply an excellent Parmigiano-Reggiano, matured for 22 months from Hombre Farm in Italy and for olive oil, you are unlikely to find better than the delicious, Italian, peppery extra virgin olive oil from Giancarlo.
When it comes to bread, I have to admit I am not as familiar with bread from Riverford as I am with their veg. They supply an impressive sounding range from Flour Power and I am sure they are all very good. Maybe I will give them a go over the next few weeks and let you know how I get on.
In the meantime I am genuinely excited to see a Gail’s bakery opening in Wimbledon Village. Although I was sad to see The Village Bakery go, another one of the four only remaining shops left in Wimbledon Village that I remember as a child, it has to be said – their bread sucked. I had the fortune of working with Gail for a couple of years. She set up Gail Force bakery (now The Bread Factory) back in the day when no one in Britain had ever heard of a Rosemary Focaccia let alone a Pain de Campagne. Now a days these breads are common place in our everyday lives, but Gail’s bread remains up there with the best of them.
Their San Francisco Sourdough is the best and I buy a loaf a week, thinly slice it and freeze it in the same paper bag it came in. Throughout the week I remove a slice or two and pop them in the toaster, which I eat with nothing more than a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil – perfection. For a healthier option with one of your five portions of veg per day, try adding broad beans. This also makes a lovely quick canapé with drinks and is one of the delights Simon always hand out at his stall at the Wimbledon Village Fair. It is also delicious with pasta with maybe a little lemon zest as well for added zing.
There is no recipe – shell your broad bean, cook them in boiling water for two minutes, immediately remove them and put them in bowl cold water to refresh them and retain their beautiful bright green colour. Slip them out of the shells and mash them up with some good olive oil and grated parmesan. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper and heap onto some freshly made, sourdough toast. Yum!