Habitas Con Jamón / Baby Broad Beans And Cured Ham – By Jemima Butler

Spring has sprung! Or indeed it seems intent on doing so. The leaves on my roses on the balcony have started to unfurl and there is warmth in the air. We have left behind the bleak dark cold days of deep winter.
Spain is a great country to eat seasonally and so with that in mind comes lovely new vegetables that can be seen in its many markets.
Habas or broad beans are one such vegetable. They grow abundantly and are lovely, small, bright green and sweet.  You can make a tasty humus with them when they are plump in the vine but now I would like to introduce you to Habitas con Jamón. It is really traditional here in Spain and terribly tasty if the new fresh beans are used with fresh mint and delicious olive oil that I love so much. Often in the summer in the countryside where they are grown in every huerta the local bars will often just put a pill of them on the table for you to pod and nibble on while having your caña.
Instructions for 6 people:
4 kilos of baby broad beans
6 tbls of very good Spanish olive oil
100g Jamón Serrano finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1 tbls of fresh mint
½ glass of light sherry (manzanilla)
Salt to taste (you won’t need much as the ham will be salty)
Pod the beans…I find this a rather enjoyable calming activity with a glass of wine while waiting for other things to happen. Warm the oil in a large frying pan, you want it hot but no more, the beans need to stew in the oil rather than fry. When warm add the beans, sprinkle on the garlic, mint and salt and cook uncovered. Once in a while give the pan a good shake to mix in the golden liquid. Better to shake than stir to avoid bruising the beans. After about 15 minutes sprinkle over the finely chopped ham and give another shake. Leave for the flavours to mingle. For the beans to be ready, the total cooking time should be between 30 to 45 minutes. Serve in a large dish with some crusty country bread.

Butlers Catering

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