Broad beans are best eaten now when they’re young and tender. Not only are they at their most delicious in May, but the nutritional credentials are also seriously impressive. Abundant in protein and fibre, their peak season continues through to early autumn.
Step 1Heat the frying pan with a nudge of butter or olive oil. Gently sauté the onion or shallot. Sprinkle over the fennel seeds.
Step 2After two minutes or so, pour in the tomatoes. Simmer for a further two minutes. Season generously with salt and pepper. If you’re looking for heat, a few drops of Tabasco will do nicely here.
Step 3Pour in the podded broad beans. Gently simmer again. If you need a little more moisture, pour in 1-2 tbsp of water.
Step 4Now make 4 wells in the mix. Crack 4 eggs into each well. Season. Pop a large lid over to cook the top of the eggs, or you can put the pan under the grill for a few minutes.
Step 5To finish, crumble over the feta and the mint leaves. Serve each portion on some chunky bread or with pearl barley. Greek yoghurt over each portion is a great addition, too, while meat eaters might enjoy a crumbling of chorizo.
British Piccolo Tomatoes
Despite the Italian name, these cherry tomatoes are actually grown exclusively in the UK. The Isle of Wight ones are the best, and while they’re cultivated all year around, it’s between May and August when they really come into their own.
Step 1Preheat the oven to 190°C.
Step 2In a large baking tray, mix the halloumi, onion, tomatoes and pepper slices together gently. Lay down the rosemary sprigs. Drizzle everything with olive oil and a decent sprinkling of sea salt and pepper. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes.
Step 3When it’s roasted, remove from the oven. Heat the pre-cooked mixed grains, following the instructions on the back of the packet. Stir into the veg tray.
Step 4Before dishing up, scatter over some large handfuls of fresh mint or thyme. Let everyone help themselves.
British Brown Shrimps
Brown shrimps are no longer something to be sniffed at – in fact, they’re far superior to ubiquitous tiger prawns, in my view. Hailing from the Lancashire coastline, the season is short – from now until June – so be quick if you want to make the most of these delicacies.
Step 1Start by making a sauce. Sauté the garlic cloves, in the butter on a very low heat.
Step 2In a pan, simmer the linguine or tagliarini for 7-8 minutes. Drain.
Step 3Add the brown shrimps to the butter garlic sauce and stir into the cooked pasta. Season with salt and pepper.
Step 4Grab 100g of the panko breadcrumbs and quickly flash fry in butter with the spring onions.
Step 5To finish, grate the lime zest into the pasta. Top each serving with more panko crumbs. Serve.
Young spring cabbage – otherwise known as spring greens – is finally here. Rich in vitamin C and other nutritional elements typically associated with brassica, its heart shaped leaves go well with everything from stir fries to fish dishes and pastas.
Step 1Heat a saucepan with a little olive oil and sauté the garlic for a few minutes. Then toss in the greens. Stir in the black or green olives.
Step 2Add the tomatoes (you can use a tin of chopped tomatoes if you prefer) and stir in the cumin seeds. Season with salt and a pinch of sugar.
Step 3Slice the fresh herbs you’ve decided to use and sprinkle over the dish as the final touch. Eat with flat breads or warm pita.
While melons remain on offer in the supermarket all year around, now is when they are at their most succulent. The first crop starts arriving from the Mediterranean and North Africa this month, while Spain’s melon season will be here before we know it.