Although you rarely match a wine to vegetables such as peas or beans they do have an influence on pairings. Peas have a natural sweetness, broad beans an earthiness and runner beans a herbaceous flavour that can affect the style of wine you choose. Here are my suggestions to go with the four recipes in Mark Hix’s column in the Independent today.
Summer vegetable minestrone
I’m not totally convinced about wine with soup - drinking one liquid while sipping another never seems quite right especially with a clear soup like this. However there will be a touch of sweetness from the peas and the leeks and an aromatic note from the herbs that would show off a minerally Loire Sauvignon Blanc very well - I’d suggest a good young Sancerre, Pouilly-Fumé or Quincy.
Red mullet on toast with crushed broad beans and pea shoots
As Mark says this is a lovely fresh summery dish which would also go with the wines suggested above but the addition of butter to the broad bean pure and to fry the red mullet suggests a lightly oaked or unoaked Chardonnay like a Chablis would work well too. Because the dish is so typical of Mark's modern British cooking I also like the idea of drinking a crisp English wine with it. Camel Valley Bacchus, a recent category winner in the United Kingdom Vineyards Association awards would be an excellent choice.
Olive oil poached sea trout with runner beans and summer girolles
A richer recipe (I love the sound of this olive oil poaching technique) that could take a fuller-bodied wine. I think I’d be tempted by something white from the Rhone, maybe even a white Châteauneuf-du-Pâpe. (Jancis Robinson did an extensive review of the 2006s back in January you might like to check out here.)
Fried green beans and anchovies
This original (and delicious-sounding) way of cooking runner beans by blanching them then deep frying them and the anchovies in a batter and serving them with aioli could be a starter or accompany fried fish, as Mark suggests. If you serve it as a starter I’d suggest a chilled manzanilla sherry. With a main course I’d go for a glass of Provençal rosé or sparkling wine.