The cultivation of broad beans, a tradition in Nice

The bean has been cultivated since ancient times. In the Middle Ages, it was even a staple ingredient in food. Today, it retains a special place in the traditional cuisine of Nice.

Celine Martel

Written in

The cultivation of broad beans, a tradition in Nice —
Health Magazine

In the middle of spring, Nice’s cuisine recovers all its colors and flavors. In the typical dishes of the Nice of a thousand colors, an essential ingredient is hidden, the broad bean.

“It is the small bean of the country that we put, we open it like this and add it to raw vegetable salads with artichokes, olive oil, salt, pepper”
says Sara Issautier, chef at the Lou Balico restaurant in Nice.

A source of protein and vitamins.

This legume is grown in the interior of Nice, in the midst of olive trees. “It’s a pretty soft pod, but as soon as you see the shape of the bean inside, slightly swollen, it’s good…”, explains Pierre Magnani, horticulturist. Each pod contains up to 7 grains, small balls to enjoy raw.

The bean has everything to please, it is rich in flavor, fiber, vitamins B and C.

A Nice heritage to defend

In Nice, the cultivation of broad beans is passed down from generation to generation. “My parents, my grandparents, my neighbors make broad beans, each one has their own small row of broad beans, it is something that is quite easy to grow, that does not require much maintenance, and a beautiful product”confesses Pierre Magnani.

For some, the bean is a true heritage that must be defended. Alex Benvenuto comes with his family to look for the most beautiful beans. He tells stories to share his love of local cuisine with his granddaughters.

“It is said that the people of Nice like beans so much that when shelling them their fingernails turn black. If we want to spend cooking, it is important to show that a vegetable grows on a plant and important to show what a bean is”rejoices Alex Benvenuto, historian of cuisine from Nice.

cheap and tasty recipes

Back home, the historian goes to the stove.

There are a lot of recipes based around beans. On today’s menu, a spring sautéed, broad beans, tender artichokes, spring onions… The best of the season accompanied by a little bacon.

Before frying the vegetables, Alex blanches the largest beans. It is a trick to remove the white dandruff, slightly bitter, then it is very easy to peel. It only remains to brown all the ingredients over high heat in a little olive oil, about ten minutes is enough. The beans should remain crisp. A tasty and cheap dish.

Alex Benvenuto hopes that one day this bean will be recognized as an intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO.

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