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Broad Bean and Ricotta Bruschetta

A super-quick but impressive dish, these broad bean and ricotta bruschetta from Kathy Slack would make an elegant appetiser at an al fresco feast.

From the book

Introduction

‘This? Fabulous? Oh, I just threw it together.’ That’s how these bruschetta should look: effortless, but so irresistibly delicious that everyone who tastes them will admire and comment. They are more than the sum of their parts. I know the garlic rubbing seems like massaging rare breed cattle – does it really make that much difference to the finished product? Well, yes it does. But you can spread the load and make the bruschetta toasts a day or two in advance and keep them in an airtight container. And I’m afraid I must insist on fully naked broad beans. You and I both know it will be worth the effort of double-podding, and there’s so little else to do in the preparation of this dish that you can’t begrudge me one fiddlesome job.

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Ingredients

4 thick slices of sourdough bread
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove
800g fresh broad beans (unpodded weight)
200g ricotta cheese
2 tbsp chopped chives
2 tbsp chopped mint
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1 lemon, zested

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Method

Start with the bruschetta. Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/gas mark 7.

Drizzle the bread slices with the olive oil, making sure all sides are well coated. Peel the garlic clove and slice it in half from top to bottom. Rub the cut sides all over the bread. Give it some welly – the more battered the clove, the more the garlic juices will infuse into the bread. Sprinkle the bread with some sea salt, place the slices on a baking tray and roast for 10–15 minutes, turning them over halfway through, until golden and crispy.

Meanwhile, denude the broad beans of their velvety pods and cook them in a pan of boiling, salted water for 2 minutes. Drain, run under cold water to stop them overcooking, then, and I’m sorry about this, pop them out of their pale jackets. I know it’s a bore, but the beans are the heroes and they really must shine.

Mix the podded beans with the ricotta, chopped herbs, lemon zest and a generous pinch of salt. Pile the mixture atop the hot, garlicky bruschetta and serve, preferably outside, with a glass of something fizzy.

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From the book: From the Veg Patch

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