A simple but delicious cold starter that can be made at any time of year, as frozen broad beans are excellent. However, if you or a friend grow broad beans in the garden, this is a dish for the first picking of the season. Dill can be used instead of parsley and you can scatter shavings of Parmesan cheese on top if you like. Serve with warm crusty bread.
Put the quail’s eggs into a pan of warm water and bring to the boil. Boil for 2 minutes, then drain, cool under cold water and drain again. Cook the broad beans in boiling salted water for 3-6 minutes, until tender. Drain and leave to cool. Pull the ham apart into small pieces. Roughly chop the parsley, reserving a few sprigs for garnish.
Peel the garlic, chop finely and put it into an empty jar. Add the green peppercorns, vinegar, olive oil and a sprinkling of sea salt and black pepper. Put the lid on the jar and shake vigorously to make a dressing.
Put the broad beans and ham into a bowl. Peel the quail’s eggs and cut them in half lengthways. Stir the chopped parsley into the broad bean mixture and then very gently mix in the quail’s eggs and the dressing.
Just before serving, spoon the mixture on to individual plates and garnish each with a sprig of parsley.
© 1997 Josceline Dimbleby. All rights reserved.