Broad bean and potato salad

I always get very confused about certain differences in US English versus proper  UK English. One of the ones I’ve never got to the bottom of is broad beans and butter beans. Broad beans are those yummy looking green things in the picture, which happen to be fresh but also come tinned and frozen. I don’t think you can get them dried, at least, i’ve never seen them. Butter beans are big and white and mealy and usually tinned, sometimes dries. So are they fava beans, lima beans or neither? I’ve never really been sure, and its one question I’ve searched the internet, and asked on various food fora, and never quite found an answer. Certainly, when I’ve looked at photos people have taken of recipes with one of them in, they often look like not the sort of bean I’d have used.

Anyway, I don’t suppose it really matters as long you enjoy the results of what you’re eating!

My Mother in Law loves broad beans, and can’t get them where she lives (Hawaii), so whenever she comes to stay, if the season is right, I try to make something with them. I bought two huge bags of local broad beans and spent several happy hours catching up with Top Chef Season 3, and double podding the beans. I just love those furry, velvetty insides of the pod. I don’t always double pod but I had an urge to this time, and it was very satisfying. Now I had this pile of beans, what could I do with them?

It was a nice sunny day so I went for a salad. I cooked some local new potatoes until almost soft, then threw the beans in for the last 5 minutes of cooking. Meanwhile, I made a dressing by blending together olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, mint, parsley, wholegrain mustard, salt and pepper. I drained the potatoes and beans, and while they were still warm I covered with the dressing. Snipped a few spring onions over the top, and there you go. A lovely taste of English summer, whatever the beans are called!

And by the way, does anyone know if you can do anything useful with the pods?


6 thoughts on “Broad bean and potato salad

  1. I know ‘cos it used to frustrate the hell outta me too! Broad Beans are what our American friends call Fava Beans but I’m not sure what they call Butter Beans!! That Salad looks scrummy and what a GREAT combination.

  2. Fava Beans are definitely broad beans and Lima beans are butter beans. By the way, dried butter beans are so much better than tinned!

  3. that looks really good! yup, the beans in the picture are fava beans, but as for butter beans, i have no idea. i’ve heard of them though, so maybe they are called butter beans here in the states too?

  4. Glad to hear that not only us non-native speakers get gonfused! I think I figured out what butter beans are in German but I was wrong about broad beans. Anyway that salad looks delicious and I agree with you on the “proper”.

  5. dried fava beens or broad beens do excist, you can bye them split (without skin) or whole (with skin, turned brown) at North African or Turkish shops, Moroccon people make a great dish which is called bissara (it is vegan btw), it is a soup like bean puree.

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