The first harvest of any seasonal vegetable is a delight, whether it’s newly-dug potatoes with skins so thin you can scratch them off with a fingernail, sweet young peas (often eaten straight from the pod) or one of our favourites, broad beans.
We always plant more than we can eat as a fresh vegetable because unlike most beans they freeze really well, but they also make a summery and surprisingly delicate soup.
Purists would say you can’t have a broad bean Vichysoisse because a Vichysoisse is, by definition, made with leek and potato.
If you feel that strongly about it, by all means call it a cream of broad bean soup. It’s delicious either way and you can serve it hot or cold. I like it flecked with fresh parsley.
Broad Bean Vichysoisse
500g broad beans, weighed after podding
1 or 2 floury potatoes (about 350g), peeled and diced
2 medium onions, peeled and finely chopped
A knob of butter and a tablespoon of olive oil
1 litre of well-seasoned chicken or vegetable stock
150ml double cream
A handful of fresh parsley, picked from the stalks and chopped (optional)
Salt and pepper
Put the broad beans in a saucepan, cover with water, bring to the boil and simmer until tender. It’s best to cook the beans separately as they can produce scum and they turn the water brown, neither of which you want in your soup.
Melt the butter with the oil in another pan and cook the onions until they’re soft but not browned. Heat the stock in a third pan.
When the beans are cooked, drain them and add them to the onions. Stir in the potatoes and cook for a minute or two.
Add the hot stock, stir well and cook until the potatoes are soft and squashable, then liquidise the lot. If the broad beans have tough skins that don’t liquidise properly, you may want to sieve the soup at this point to give it a really velvety texture.
Return to the cleaned pan and bring to a gentle simmer. Add the cream, taste the soup and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Stir through the parsley, if using, and serve hot or cold.