I used to think I didn't like broad beans, but that was because I'd only ever had them when they were older and tougher and still enveloped in their wrinkly grey outer skins. Then Lesley showed me how to ease out the little bright green inner beans, and I was hooked. But they're hard to buy young enough to be really good - much better to be able to get them fresh from the plants, before they get too enormous. The way we humans eat them is of course terribly wasteful, because only the very youngest, tenderest beans can be eaten still in their pods. I did manage to do a few this way, boiling them briefly, but most of the pods were steamed in a colander for a few minutes, then opened, and the beans extracted. I ended up with a huge pile of pods and a small bowl of beans.
I shucked the largest beans from their slightly wrinkled skins, but I couldn't bear the waste of all that green goodness. So I kept the outer skins and pureed them later with lemon juice, oil and salt to make a flavourful dip, and left the rest of them intact.
I was having two friends over for a Good Dinner that night, and I wanted to do as little as possible to my beans. So I made a simple first course - skinny asparagus wrapped in very thin slices of Serrano ham, and a little pile of beans with torn basil and grated pecorino cheese, plus a wedge of lemon and drizzle of excellent olive oil (from Moon over Martinborough, one of the best goodies we were given at the food bloggers' conference - I'd been hoarding it for the right occasion) with some good bread to mop it all up. The beans, like the asparagus, were warm, so the thin flakes of cheese melted into them, and then they melted into us.