So this recipe is a little Spanish something that comes to the blog after I have just spent the most inspiring three weeks cheffing in Spain. This is such a versatile dish and I have probably made a version of it three times since I got back from Andalucia last Sunday. I served it with crispy sea bass when some friends came round the other night. I had it with fresh chunky bread for lunch the other day, and also made it as you see below with poached eggs, adding a little warm chorizo for my hot desking, gym loving friend. I really adore this recipe and so hope you do too.
For those of you who have subscribed to my newsletter, you will have already heard about some of my recent Spanish adventures. I know it is kind of cheesy to say, but my trip has sort of allowed me to fall in love with food again – helped me to remember what it is all about. Experimenting, trying new things, being brave, burning, frying, poaching, steaming, binning, revelling and piling in the flavours. Sometimes, as with all things creative, you can find yourself in a bit of a rut, doing the same things in and out and growing a bit stale. Not so willing to take risks. I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to find your grove again and get that fire back in the belly and to get risky again for maximum reward!
I blame my re-found excitement on Rick Stein and his book ‘SPAIN’. I have not looked through such an inspiring cookbook in a LONG time! I wanted to cook every recipe – and each recipe that I did have the time to cook was bang on, bursting with flavour and utterly delicious. When I look to some of our classic chefs – the likes of Rick Stein, Nigel Slater, Diana Henry, Delia Smith and Madhur Jaffrey, I am reminded of truly innovative, excellent cooking. Nothing faddy. Nothing on-trend. Just totally delicious, clever recipes from true greats, that a site from being really creative, they most importantly, work! There is nothing worse than going to the effort of creating a recipe (especially when you do it for a living) to get to the end and feel thoroughly underwhelmed. Nobody wants a soggy bottom or a crumbly quiche do they! So a promise from me to you and a mantra from me to me – always be innovative, make recipes that work and be authentic.
So without further ado, here is my little Spanish creation, filled with inspiration and delicious flavours – not to mention lots of garlic too!
- 3 large cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
- 4 tablespoons of olive oil
- ½ a red onion, sliced
- 5 sprigs of thyme, plus 2 more sprigs for garnish
- Generous pinch of salt
- Good grind of pepper
- 350g broad beans
- 1 tablespoon of capers, roughly chopped
- 150ml water
- ½ teaspoon of vegetable Bouillon powder, or 1/2 a stock cube
- Juice of 1/2 a lemon
- 1 tablespoon of parsley, roughly chopped
- 2tbsp olive oil
- 40g chorizo, roughly chopped
- Start by chopping the garlic. For this recipe I prefer not to crush the garlic, but to chop it relatively finely so that each piece is about the size of a grain of brown rice. This way you will get more of an intense and delicious hit of garlic.
- Put the garlic into a pan with the olive oil, sliced onion and thyme and salt and pepper and put over a low/medium heat. You don't want the heat to be too high as you want to cook these big flavour elements quite slowly so as to get maximum impact from them. Leave them over the gentle heat for about 10 minutes while you prepare your broad beans
- Boil the kettle and pour into a pan placed over a medium heat, adding a good teaspoon of salt to the water. Bring to the boil and then add the broad beans. Let the water come back to a rolling boil before straining and running the broad beans under cold water.
- Put half of the beans into a bowl and set aside. With the remaining half, use your fingers to pierce the outer shell of the bean and pop out the bright green centre. If you have very small broad beans, you may be able to skip this part, but if the beans are bigger, it is best to remove as many of the husks as possible.
- Add the broad beans still in their coats to the sautéed garlic and onion with the chopped capers. Whisk together the water and the Bouillon powder or stock cube and add to the same pan. Turn up to a medium heat and simmer for about 5 minutes so that the liquid reduces by about half and flavours intensify.
- Next, add the shelled broad beans and lemon juice and taste. Add more salt and pepper at this stage - be brave as this dish can take a fair amount of seasoning. Remove any stalks of the thyme.
- Chop the parsley and extra thyme and stir through the broad beans. Make sure the beans are nice and hot before dividing between two plates ahead of poaching the eggs.
- Boil the kettle again, pour the water into a pan and bring to a gentle simmer. Crack and really gently drop your eggs into the water and poach for about 1-2 minutes until the whites are no longer transparent. Remove with a slotted spoon. Rest the spoon on some kitchen paper to absorb any excess water. Place on top of your beans and serve.
- If you want to add chorizo to this dish, just pop it into a pan with the olive oil at the same time as the eggs. Fry for 2-3 minutes until turning crispy. Drizzle over the top of the eggs with some of that lovely flavoured oil too.
Regarding the thyme in this recipe, the stuff that I have growing in my pot is really strong and quite tough. If you are using older thyme like this, make sure you remove the leaves from the stalks before adding it. However, thyme that I have bought from Waitrose for example is much younger and softer. I tend to use about 10-12 stalks as they flavour does not seem to be as strong. I also tend not to discard the stalks but just chop the whole thing into the pan with some scissors. Be generous with the thyme - I add blooming loads.