After my broad bean shelling festival last week, some readers inquired about my culinary intentions for the little shelled gems. A few Spring broadbean treats have emerged from my kitchen of late, though some of the photos leave a lot to be desired. Today’s recipe is based on a dish I had in a restaurant in Oamaru, New Zealand, where they served creamy white polenta with a buttery sauce of local clams and crunchy fried capers. Ever since, I have been very partial to white polenta. I’m not a purist when it comes to polenta instantanea versus 20-40 minutes of aching arm action. Sometimes you have to cheat. Instant polenta is convenient and a versatile neutral tasting base on which to layer intense flavours. This recipe is meant to be flexible: you can use any fish or seafood that comes your way, or, leave it out entirely. Once the beans are shelled, and slipped out of their rubbery casings, the hard work is done.
Polenta Bianca con Fave e Salmone. White Polenta with fresh Broadbeans and Salmon. Ingredients listed for two people.
- 1 cup instant white polenta
- stock or water to cook the polenta as per packet directions
- butter and grated parmigiano to enrich the polenta, to taste
- 200 gr Atlantic salmon
- I cup of double shelled broadbeans. ( if you are buying fresh broadbeans, you will need around 1 kilo)
- 1 large garlic clove, crushed and finely chopped
- black pepper
- fresh marjoram leaves, a few stalks.
- Cut the skinless salmon fillets into chunks of around 6 cm. Season and lightly oil the pieces and heat a solid frying pan.
- Make the polenta according to packet instructions. This will come together within two or so minutes. Stir vigorously, then add butter and parmesan cheese. Stir until very smooth, then keep warm on a heat diffuser.
- Cook the salmon chunks to your liking. I like mine well coloured on the outside and just cooked through.
- Meanwhile, heat a small saucepan and add some butter. Add the garlic, stir for a few seconds, then add the shelled broadbeans. Stir till hot, then add the marjoram leaves and black pepper.
- Assemble the dishes in wide low bowls. First lay a bed of the hot polenta, then add the salmon chunks, then the broadbeans. Add a lemon wedge and a drizzle of your best oil.
This is a gluten-free meal that is easy to prepare, though does involve three simultaneous maneuvers. To make the dish vegetarian, leave out the fish, add more butter to the broadbean sauce, and add some shaved parmesan at the end. To veganise the dish, leave out the fish and butter and use very good olive oil and more herbs for flavour.
Older posts on broadbeans can be found in these links below. https://almostitalian.wordpress.com/2013/11/20/tagliatelle-with-broad-beans-and-smoked-salmon/ and https://almostitalian.wordpress.com/2013/12/12/italian-product-trial-farro-rice-and-barley-pilaf/