We’ve been enjoying a heatwave in London gettting on for nearly a month and with no apparent sign of it abating. In a matter of days Londoners are enjoying a good sunbathe over parched straw where soft green grass once was. When northern Europeans come to us in Spain in the dry, scorching summer they sometimes find it hard to believe that we could have green grass and flowers. “Come in autum, winter or spring”, we say “but the price of green could be a touch of rain” – I wish!
My point? Who the heck wants to eat hot food in this weather? I’m for lots of salads, chilled fruit, lightly dressed cold vegetables – and pulses. Pulses are delicious cold. Whole with lime-pickled onions, capsicums, cruchy root vegetables, herbs, lots of black pepper and best olive oil. Or creamed with sesame paste, garlic and lemon. And always with warm flat-bread. Great for breakfast, lunch or supper.
Hummus means chickpea in Arabic, so using the term for broad beans is technically inaccurate. Should someone raise the point pass them a morsel confident in the knowledge that taste speaks louder than words.
Fava Bean Hummus with Harissa & Green Peppercorns
In Spain they are served as a cold Tapa with a dressing of garlic, lemon, spring onion and parsley. Butterbeans make a good alternative. Or play safe and stick to chickpeas.
- 250 g Fava Beans
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1-2 lemons
- 1-2 tsp harissa you can buy this fresh from Moroccan & other North African shops
- bunch of mint, basil and parsley finely chopped
- 6-8 fresh green peppercorns or freshly ground black pepper
- salt to taste
- 2-3 tbsp Tahini (creamed sesame)
- Soak the beans overnight in plenty of water
- Discard the soaking water and bring the beans to a simmer in a large pan with plenty of fresh water. Cook for 30-40 minutes until soft. Strain the beans but keep some of the water which you'll use later
- Remove the skins: wrap the cooled beans in a teatowel and gently rub them with your hands to loosen the skins. Pinch off the skin at one blunt, dark and squeeze out flesh with finger and thumb
- Since the beans are large this step is not overly laborious
- Place the beans, garlic, lemon juice, harissa, creamed sesame and green peppercorns (if you're using them) into a food processor. Process until very smooth, adding a little of the cooking liquid to achieve a soft texture
- Add the chopped herbs and season with salt (and black pepper if you haven't used the green peppercorns). Adjust the acidity with a little more lemon of you like
- Transfer the hummus onto a plate or bowl, create a well in the centre with a spoon and add a good bit of best cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil. Sprinkle with a little cayenne or hot smoked paprika
- Serve at room temperature with warm pitta or your favourite flat-bread