Despite an unfair reputation, fava beans are not so hard to prepare. Yes, this may be the only vegetable that must be peeled twice, but preparation goes very quickly with proper technique. First split the large fleshy pods by twisting or by judicious use of a thumbnail, and carefully remove each bean within. Blanch resulting beans in highly salted water for two minutes, then shock with cold water and drain. Now each bean must be peeled, but it’s quick work with just your fingers.
Favas are available only briefly in our climate, so jump on them while you can! These babies came from Pachamama Organic Farm.
Fava Beans with Pecorino
This quick salad is a riff on a simple dish I often make when fresh peas are available.
- 2 cups prepared fava beans (as above)
- 1/2 cup pecorino romano in a 1/4″ dice
- 2 Tb fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp lemon zest
- 5 Tb extra virgin olive oil
- black pepper, to taste
Prepare a vinaigrette by whisking olive oil into the lemon juice and zest. Add black pepper to taste – I like quite a bit. Lemon makes for a lighter vinaigrette, but certainly adjust proportions to your taste. I find the pecorino to be salty enough alone, so I don’t add additional salt.
Toss favas and cheese, toss with vinaigrette and serve.
With apologies to Dr. Lector, serve with a crisp gruner veltliner, not a “big amarone” or even a “nice chianti.”