On broad beans and coriander flowers
It's that time of the year: broad beans are everywhere with their vibrant colour, soft texture and perfect flavour. If you're crazy about broad beans like I am, you sure understand all the fuss about them. The season is short! Of course if you dislike broad beans (like my mom) you won't really see all the joy that comes with a large bag and the promise of long hours shelling and peeling beans. No matter how unexciting the process is, I seem to never have enough -- creamy soups, crunchy salads or comfy stews, vegetarian or with a little bacon but always paired with the most perfect bouquet of aromatic herbs: garlic leaves, leek tops, mint and coriander flowers. Oh the joy!
Get a bowl and a spoon, I'm serving soup.
Creamy Broad Bean Soup with a Poached Egg
1,2Kg fresh broad beans (in the pod)
1 medium leek (or 2 small)
1 medium onion
2 tbsp olive oil
950ml vegetable stock
small bunch coriander (flowered, if you can get them)
few mint sprigs (optional)
4 fresh large eggs, organic
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
freshly ground black pepper
Shell broad beans and remove the skin (yes, it's time consuming but necessary to get the velvety texture and bright green colour). Reserve. Make a bouquet with the leek top, coriander and mint. Tie the bunch together with kitchen twine. Coarsely chop the onion and leek's white part. Put olive oil in a large pot, add onion and leek and cook for 3 minutes, until soft. Add prepared broad beans and the bouquet. Pour the stock and cook, covered, for 10-12 minutes. Remove the herb bouquet. Using a hand blender, blend until creamy. Check seasoning. Add a little salt if necessary.
Bring a small pan of water to the boil. When the water boils, add the vinegar. Lower the water to a slow simmer. Crack the egg into a small bowl. Carefully pour the egg into the boiling water. Cook for about 3 minutes. Remove with a a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper kitchen towel. Repeat with the remaining eggs.
Toast 4 slices of bread. Pour the soup into 4 large bowls. Put one poached egg and a toast in each one. Ground some black pepper on the egg. Add a dash of olive oil and serve.