No, that book isn’t just there because the colour matches so beautifully; I really was reading Jane Austen in the kitchen. Emma is a favourite of mine, though for some reason it can take me weeks to get through it. I’m not sure why – I can pick up Pride and Prejudice after breakfast and practically be done by dinner – but Emma is a demanding read for me. So when I feel like tackling it, I’ll leave it somewhere I find myself often.
But today’s post isn’t about literature in odd places, it’s about bruschetta. One of the world’s most popular appetisers, it wasn’t until recently that it became popular with this Kitchenist. Why the delay? Blame it on the tomatoes. Like cooked fruit, summer squash, and most tropical fruit, raw tomatoes are one of those things that I just can’t do. Looking at that list, I think it’s probably “the squish factor” that I take issue with. I’ll take tomatoes cooked, dried, in sauces and soups, but never raw.
Of course, bruschetta doesn’t require tomatoes, as the word refers to a dish and not a set of ingredients. As fellow food blogger as Tiina so beautifully shows, it’s actually hugely versatile. Once I cottoned on to the fact that bruschetta is just stuff on bread (hmm, and salads are just any dish not served hot– maybe I should put these pearls of wisdom in my own book), I did an abrupt 180° on it.
This version is a taste of summer, with fresh, raw broad beans crushed with feta and parsley. I made a similar recipe last June; my pesto combines broad beans with peas, garlic, lemon zest, herbs and parmesan cheese. Delicious, but I was in the mood for something simpler today, and this rustic take pares down the flavours to their simplest state.
If you think about it, bruschetta is the perfect summer meal: quick to prepare, light, flavourful and infinitely adaptable. I’ve probably got enough topping ideas to keep me eating it all summer long. Which is a good thing, since I’ve really got to finish that book.
Broad Bean and Feta Bruschetta
makes 4 small bruschette
- 500g broad bean pods (approx. 60g podded and skinned)
- 50g feta cheese
- 1 Tbs. olive oil, plus extra for bread
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- 1 tsp. finely chopped parsley
- sea salt and black pepper
- 4 slices ciabatta bread or similar
- Put a small pot of water on to boil while you de-pod the broad beans. To do this, simply grab the stem end and twist it, “zip” down the pod and pry the beans from their furry pods. When the water boils, add the beans and cook for 2-3 minutes, before rinsing well in cold water. To skin the beans, make a small tear in the wrinkly outer layer and push the bean through.
- When all the beans are podded and skinned, combine with the feta in a small bowl. Using a fork, roughly crush the mixture together so that it becomes creamier but still chunky. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir gently and set aside.
- Prepare the ciabatta slices by brushing both sides lightly with oil, then grilling or toasting under the broiler. Let cool before topping with the broad bean mixture. Drizzle with a little olive oil and serve.