Fava Bean and Pecorino Salad
Fresh favas can be hard to come by and are always incredibly labor intensive to clean, but this simple salad with a piece of great crunchy bread makes all the trouble worthwhile. I like to use Pecorino Toscano, a young, slightly soft and fairly mild pecorino. Aged pecorino, which is much easier to find, is stronger and overpowers the delicate sweetness of fresh favas. If it’s all you can get, cut back a little on the amount.
3 pounds fava pods (about 2 cups shelled)
6 ounces Pecorino Toscano or other young pecorino cheese
1/4 cup very thinly sliced spring onions (halved if large)
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
, preferably Sicilian
1 minced peperoncini or red pepper flakes
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon dry white wine
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, shell the favas. Drop the beans into the boiling water and blanch until their skins loosen, about 3 minutes. Cool the favas in ice water, then peel them and put them in a large bowl.
Cut the pecorino into 1/4-inch dice and add it to the bowl. Add the onions, oregano, peperoncini, oil, pepper, vinegar, wine, and parsley. Mix well, season to taste with salt, and serve.
Although there is no substitute for favas, blanched green beans (cut into 1⁄4" lengths) are also good combined with young pecorino.
Spring onions have a brighter, sharper flavor than scallions, but scallions work as a substitute.
Don’t be afraid of the oil in this recipe; you want to be generous. In fact, I suggest that you do what we do at the restaurant and marinate the diced cheese with the onion,
oregano, peperoncini, and pepper in olive oil overnight (stored like this, the cheese will keep for weeks). Just before serving, add the marinade with the cheese to the favas, adjust the acidity with vinegar and wine, and then garnish with parsley.