Wasabi broad bean, lemon & ricotta pâté
I don’t know if you’ve ever come across wasabi broad beans. They’re the most fantastic bar snack – infinitely better and spicier than the more commonly-available wasabi peas – you can get those everywhere these days! But wasabi broad beans remain elusive. I used to be able to get them all the time (dangerous as they’re pretty much as packed-full of calories as my other favourite nibbly treat, peanuts) at a fantastic oriental supermarket over the road. But, as is often the case in London, rent prices were too high and it’s moved down the road to Peckham. Which is a little too far to travel for a few broad beans, as good as they are.
So, I’ve been craving this combination for a while and tonight made it happen in my kitchen. Last night I went for dinner at Polpo, a great and much talked about Italian-influenced, New York-styled eaterie in West Soho and noticed a broad bean and ricotta bruschetta on the menu. I didn’t order it – we were too interested in the incredibly shellfishy risotto, flatbreads, arancini and fritto misto – but I took note. I decided I’d make a broad bean pâté, spice it with mint and wasabi, infuse it with lemon and creamy ricotta and serve it atop garlicky toasted bread. This happened to be a pretty good idea – I’ll share the results with you!
Note: I have just picked up a great little punchy extra virgin olive oil infused with lemon from Brighton’s Foodie Festival and used this in the recipe below. If you don’t have any, regular oil will work just as well, I’m sure. But it does add a great little added kick.
You will need:
300g broad beans (frozen are fine!)
2 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tspn wasabi
275g full-fat ricotta cheese
1 knob of butter
the juice of 1/4 to 1/2 a lemon, depending on your preference
1 tbspn (approx) of shredded fresh mint
extra virgin olive oil (infused with lemon if you have it!)
1 small fresh brown loaf of bread
handful of watercress, to serve
2 small cooking chorizo sausages, chopped and fried, to serve (optional)
1 – Put the broad beans, peas and 1 of the garlic cloves in a pan of water; bring to the boil and cook for 3 minutes, until the broad bean are tender
2 – Meanwhile, beat the butter, 150g of the ricotta and the wasabi in a large mixing bowl; stir in the lemon juice, plenty of seasoning and the mint
3 – Drain the peas, garlic and beans and leave to cool slightly before removing the outer casings of the broad beans – it takes a bit of time to peel them all, but its worth it as the colour of the pâté will remain vibrantly green if you do so!
4 – Once peeled, add the peas, podded broad beans and garlic clove to the cheese mix and blend into a smooth paste, adding about 2 tbspns of olive oil as you go; check the seasoning
5 – Now grill your bread; cut 4 thick slices, brush each with olive oil and then place in a pre-heated griddle pan
6 – Grill the bread for 1 minute, until toasted, then flip; rub the toasted side with the remaining garlic clove to impart the flavour
7 – Once toasted and ‘garlicked’ on both sides, transfer the toast to serving plates, spread over the remaining ricotta and top with chorizo (if using) and a generous amount of the broad bean pâté; drizzle with extra oil and black pepper and serve immediately with a little handful of watercress