Broad beans, mussels, lemon balm and panforte

I enjoyed the market very much. There were about a million fewer people there than at the Taste of Slow festival, the entry was a more palatable $2 per person, and the stalls were a bit less chichi. It was a farmers’ market which actually had a few farmers selling stuff in a gruff kind of way. I bought these broad beans and cooked them up for lunch as directed: shelled, boiled for 5 or 6 minutes in a cup of water, with some oil, some pepper, some salt, and a chopped onion. The result was fantastic, but I cannot understand why this was a good way of cooking them. Perhaps the woman who was selling them did not think I would have the patience to “slip them out of their tough skins” as Stephanie puts it (using a typically infuriating cookbook writer’s euphemism for a task naturally more tricky than it is made to sound — the best one I recall was, in relation to an uncooked eel: “peel back the skin as if removing a glove”). I have never heard of boiling an onion. But there you go, it was glorious (though I think Stephanie’s injunction to boil them for 3 minutes is preferable), the things were as brilliantly green as could be, and I’m sure they were fresh, though it was my first foray into the world of broad beans so I wouldn’t really know.

I also got some beautiful looking mussels for lunch tomorrow, and passed up some unshucked Coffin Bay oysters caught by a mate of the mussell man.  I bought a lemon balm, a seedling of a special kind of spinach recently rediscovered in the wilds of Italy, and some very curly cress for the kitchen windowsill. I bought kipfler potatoes, bread from the Convent bakery, cheese, and some panforte made up near Shepparton which was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten.

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