20 June 2007
There Is a Balm in Fava Beans
One of the things Umm Hana taught me was that when you have to do something laborious, go ahead and do it all at once and get it over with. A day of chopping, peeling, and cooking may seem a pain, but then you've got a year's worth of jam. One day I stopped by her house and she'd made three chocolate roll-cakes, one for her daughter's birthday, the other two for the freezer. And while you may never see me with that many cakes in my freezer, I do take a 'get it while you can' approach when it comes to seasonal produce. Like those fava beans I got last week, I shelled a huge bag, used some, and set some aside for later. The same approach can be taken for cooking dried beans: (because cooking your own dried beans is much tastier and cheaper than canned) cook a large amount, then freeze them in plastic containers.
So, I shucked in the car, I shucked on the porch, I shucked watching Free to Dance for about the fifth time (who doesn't tear up at 'A Balm in Gilead?'). Anyway, back to the favas. I love them in a simple salad with some chunks of pecorino romano and a drizzle of olive oil, with a bit of mint for accent. This time, my fridge yielded some cave aged-gruyere cheese, and I mounded the salad on top of some toasts as crostini. I ate them sitting in the midday sun of the front porch, and with the cheese melting into the still-warm toasts and the bite of fresh mint, it was the best lunch I've had in a while.
Fava, Pecorino, and Mint Salad
I love the salty chunks of pecorino romano cheese in this salad, but it's equally good with other cheeses: slivers of aged gruyere or crumbles of feta come to mind.
2 cups fava beans, shelled, blanched and peeled
2 oz pecorino cheese, broken into chunks (or substitute another flavorful cheese)
1 tbl slivered mint leaves
a drizzle of olive oil, pinch of sea salt
Combine everything and toss to coat.
Fava Bean Crostini: Toast slices of a baguette or country bread until browned on both sides. Drizzle each slice with a little olive oil, then mound some of the salad on top.