It’s Fava Bean Season!

Beautiful and plump fava beans are showing up all over in our produce markets. These very versatile beans are known to be the stars of the legume family and taste fantastic in salads, crostinis, pastas, risottos, stews and dips just to name a few.

Look for favas that are bright green with slightly fuzzy pods and avoid any ones that are blackened and limp.

Shucking the beans can be a little time consuming but well worth the effort once you unveil the inner glossy green bean! Here is a visual guide to show you how to do it.
Their taste has been described as a buttery texture with a nutty, slightly sweet flavor.

Methods for removing the shell vary. The most common way is to bring a pot of salted water to a boil, add the beans, cook for 1 minute, then drain and plunge them in ice water to stop the cooking process. This softens the outer shell and allows you to slit open its side and force out the beautiful glossy bean.
I have other plans for these little beauties besides this awesome Spring Salad I made which consisted of the blanched favas, defrosted peas, and blanched asparagus cut on the diagonal, all tossed with arugula and shaved fontinella cheese, you could also use parmesan or pecorino as well. The dressing was made with fresh lemon and olive oil that went perfectly with all the vegetables.

I served the salad along side this Asparagus and Ricotta Tart for a meatless meal we had during the week. I had leftover blanched asparagus from my salad so I put them to good use and made this.

I lined a 9 inch tart pan with a store bought pie dough which was fast an easy.
In a bowl mix 1 1/2 cups of ricotta
2 large eggs
1 crushed garlic clove
Zest of one lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup of grated parmesan
Whip until smooth and incorporated and then pour mixture into your pie shell.

Arrange your asparagus on top and sink them into the ricotta. I blanched the asparagus for 3 minutes in boiling water which was then plunged into ice water, thoroughly drained and patted dry. Sprinkle with more cheese and a drizzle of olive oil on top.
Bake in a 375 degree oven until crust is golden and ricotta is set.
Have a great week and Buon Appetito!