Broad beans are at their best at the beginning of summer, as they become tough and bitter towards the end of the season.
All the podding and shelling is worth it to retreive the smooth-skinned pale green beans inside their fur lined pods.
The beans have a nutty, chalky flavour and are best steamed or boiled until tender when they can be easily popped out of their skins.
To make a warm broad bean, streaky bacon and goat’s cheese salad, fry some chopped onion in a good knob of butter until golden, add some diced streaky bacon – cook until crisp. Add the cooked broad beans, some chopped flat-leaf parsley and a capful of red wine vinegar. Toss gently, scatter with goat’s cheese and season to taste.
The first crops of beans and peas need virginal, unoaked wines such as a citrussy Soave classico or try Spain’s version of Sauvignon Blanc, a grassy and crisp Palacio de Bornos Verdejo 2007, Rueda (£6.99, Waitrose).