Serve this dish as a light lunch for 4 people or starter for 6. The salad goes with almost anything –fish, meat or just serve on its own. However if you have never tried baked ricotta it is worth trying out this recipe. When fresh are out of season you could use frozen broad beans but I would still slip off their tough outer skin. It may seem like a bit of a fiddle but it does make all the difference. I am happy to eat broad beans skin-on but to convert others to this vegetable usually means revealing the bright green tender bean inside.
- For the salad
- 1.5kg broad beans in their pods
- 450g courgettes, about 2, roughly chopped into 1cm pieces
- 75g pitted black olives
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Juice of 1 lemon
- For the baked ricotta
- 2 x 250g pots ricotta cheese
- 2 medium eggs
- 55g parmesan, finely grated
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 4 sprigs thyme, leaves only
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped marjoram or oregano
- ¾ teaspoon Maldon salt
- Olive oil for greasing and drizzling
- Shell the broad beans-you should have about 630g podded weight of beans. Bring a pan of water to the boil and add the beans. Bring back to the boil and cook for 2 minutes. Drain and refresh immediately under cold water. Pinch the end of each bean and slip off the outer skin (discarding the skin). Place the skinned beans in a mixing bowl.
- Heat a griddle pan until smoking hot. If you haven’t got a griddle pan you can use a frying pan. Add the courgettes and cook for 3-4 minutes turning them halfway through cooking. When coloured and softened add to the broad beans. Stir in the remaining salad ingredients and season well with salt and ground black pepper. Set aside; you can keep it at room temperature if you are serving it after cooking the ricotta or chill if eating later.
- For the baked ricotta, heat the oven to 200˚c, fan oven 180˚c, mark 6. Base-line a 20cm spring-form cake tin with a disc of non-stick baking parchment and grease the sides with a little olive oil. Place the ricotta in a mixing bowl and beat in the eggs until smooth. Beat in the parmesan, garlic, lemon zest, herbs and salt. Season with ground black pepper. Spoon into the prepared tin and bake for about 40 minutes until firm to the touch. Leave to cool for about 30 minutes before unmoulding and placing on a serving plate. Drizzle with a little olive oil and decorate with a few marjoram flowers or little leaves. Serve in wedges with a spoonful of the broad bean salad on the side.