The First Garden Produce: A Bright, Fresh Bruschetta with Broad Beans, Tomatoes and Mozzarella
Updated: Aug 9
I always wish I were one of those 'little, and often' gardeners: the pottering kind who manage to make the work of gardening seem easy through short, regular excursions to the cold frame, potting shed or raised beds for a spot of weeding, potting-up of the odd plant, with perhaps a brief pause to deadhead the fuschia on the way past.
Instead, I have to admit I'm one of those gardeners who put-off anything except essential maintenance (basically just watering) until the sheer number of important tasks mean it is absolutely impossible to spend less than 4-5 hours on often exhausting (occasionally back-breaking) outdoor labour. The only advantage of this way of working is the satisfaction of seeing real change in the garden in a single day's work
This morning has been another of those tiring, but rewarding mornings: lots of weeding, a number of new seedlings to plant-up, some stepping-stones to set in place, and a couple of rescue operations for plants in danger from either pests or the elements. Amongst the chores are the little joys of uncovering the food that is ready (or almost ready) for eating: the first big tomatoes nearly completely red but still firm to the touch; a couple of small courgettes the size of my thumb and the beginnings of a summer squash; strawberries that look too appetising to be brought into the house and are instead snatched whenever I walk past.
It's been a busy morning in the garden, and now I'm hungry.
It's been a busy morning in the garden, and now I'm hungry. Thankfully one of the other harvests this morning has been a clutch of small broad beans; the kind that are so small and tender they hardly need cooking. There's half a baguette in the bread bin, a ball of mozzarella in the fridge, and the remains of a punnet of tiny, bright tomatoes leftover from yesterday's pizza, so I think bruschetta is on the cards...
Broad Bean and Tomato Bruschetta, with Mozzarella and Mint
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
50g podded baby broad beans
olive oil, for frying
150g mixed colour baby plum and cherry tomatoes
4 slices of sourdough bread, ciabatta or baguette
1 small garlic clove
1 ball (125g) of organic mozzarella
salt and pepper
a handful of small mint leaves
a few snippings of cress
extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Bring a small pan of salted water to the boil. Once it is simmering away energetically, add the podded broad beans, and simmer for just 1 minute. Once beginning to soften, drain, and leave to one side.
Warm a little olive oil in a frying pan. Slice each of the tomatoes in half, season with a little salt, and fry in the hot oil until just beginning to soften. Then remove from the heat.
Heat a griddle pan on a high heat with a little olive oil on the ridges. Toast one side of each of the bread slices until crisp. Remove from the griddle pan, toasted side up. Slice the garlic clove in half, and scrape the cut side of one of the halves across the hot surface of each of the slices of bread.
Now it's just a matter of assembling: mash quarter of the mozzarella onto each slice of bread, and add a grinding of black pepper. Pile the tomatoes and broad beans on each slice. Garnish with the mint leaves and cress, and finish with a little drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Serve immediately.