To double-pod or not to double-pod, as Hamlet might have asked if he’d spent more time in Elsinore’s kitchens instead of stabbing bits of tapestry and getting terminally depressed. It’s a valid question and one which is almost as divisive as the state of Denmark’s politics in the late Middle Ages.
Some people are scathing about the idea of double-podding broad beans. Others detest the taste of the skins. I take a middle position: I enjoy the flavour of the skins when the beans are young and fresh but dislike the bitterness, toughness and greyish colour they can develop as they age.
For this recipe I’d suggest you go to the trouble of double-podding, for flavour, tenderness and colour. If the beans are fresh, blanch them for a minute in boiling water. If they’re frozen (and that’s fine) just defrost them.
Either way, nick the skin with your fingernail and squeeze gently and the bright green beans will shoot out of their skins, sometimes to the startlement of your cat. It really doesn’t take long but if you baulk at the sheer volume of beans here, mix in some fresh or frozen peas, blanched briefly if fresh, defrosted and drained if frozen.
Don’t skimp on the total quantity though. Unlike French omelettes with their elegant sufficiency of filling, frittatas and tortillas should be jam-packed and be deep enough when cooked to cut like a cake.
Broad Bean and Mint Frittata
1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 fat clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
500-550g broad beans, podded weight
6 large eggs
1-2 tbsp chopped fresh mint, to taste
2 tbsp freshly grated parmesan
Salt and pepper
Oil for frying
Heat a tablespoon or two of oil in a pan and gently fry the onions until soft and golden. Add the garlic and fry for a minute more. Set aside to cool.
Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Add the beans, chopped mint, parmesan and the cooled onion mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Heat the grill to medium-high. In an omelette pan or similar, heat another tablespoon of oil and add the frittata mixture. Cook the frittata very, very slowly on a low heat until mostly set but still wobbly in the middle. Cooking it on too high a heat will give you a leathery bottom which I think we can all agree is best avoided.
Flash under the grill to set and lightly brown the top but don’t overdo it – it should still be slightly soft in the centre as it will continue to cook as it cools.
Ease the sides with a small palette knife, and using oven gloves, put a plate over the top and flip the frittata so the bottom is now the top. If you’re worried that the base looks too dark, flip it again.
Allow to cool for at least 15-20 minutes to allow it to finish setting and because I think it’s best eaten lukewarm. If you refrigerate it, make sure it comes back to room temperature before you eat it.
We ate our with a rocket salad and Indian-spiced bubble-and-squeak cakes, which were much nicer than they probably sound.
Double podding is a pain but worth it. Your Shakespearian reference reminds me of my late father. Mum and Dad had a huge bedroom in an old house overlooking the sea near Dun Laoghaire. Dad, for modesty, used to change behind a very big old armchair at one side of the room. He used to refer to it as his arras. He would warn us kids from acting like Polonius and venturing behind his arras. I suspect it is from Dad that I got my sense of humour.
Lovely recipe and apologies for slipping into distant memories here on your blog.
You dad sounds lovely and I’m glad you inherited his sense of humour. Glad too that you like the frittata, it was a good ‘un. Never apologise for reminiscing, it’s always entertaining. 🙂 Lxx
I agree with you entirely, it depends so much on the age of the broad beans, but all the fiddly slipping of beans from skins is worth the effort. Broad beans and mint are a lovely combo
Thank you, and yes, definitely worth it for the lovely fresh flavour. Lx
As often as we had broad beans, “fava” was a staple, they were always served raw. When I mentioned cooking them to Zia, she had no idea how to do it. I’m no better. I’ve bought them to try a recipe but none make it to the pot because I snack on them. Even so, using them in a frittata with mint sounds like a wonderful preparation. Maybe if I bought twice as much …
If it makes you feel any better, John, these are barely cooked. 🙂 Ours often don’t make it back to the kitchen either, as we snack on them when we’re doing the gardening. Lx
Adore broad beans – lovely way to use them 🙂
Thank you, Lynn. More broad beans on Friday!
I have only recently mastered proper frittatas and love the look of this springy one. Do you have broad beans already?! My over-wintering plants are starting to flower but the mice and slugs haven’t left me with much. Perhaps enough for a frittata!
No, we have had over-wintered broad beans at this time of year before, raised in the greenhouse, but I confess these were last year’s out of the freezer. Just about the only bean that freezes really well, imho. You are having a catch-up today, aren’t you?! Lx
I was in Devon last week with zero internet connection, which was lovely. Back to full-on internet addiction again 😉
Good to have you back! Hope Devon was suitably relaxing and you got plenty of cheese-eating in. 🙂 Lx