Why It Works
- Blanching fava beans in the shell gives them a brighter flavor and color.
- Soaking thinly sliced carrots in cold water makes them curl nicely and gives them extra crunch.
This quick and easy salad takes some of spring's best produce—bright green fava beans and tender young carrots—and does just the right thing to them, which is very little. With a simple vinaigrette, some thinly sliced shallots, and a generous serving of fresh ricotta cheese to add richness, it's all they need to taste their best.
- 1 1/2 pounds (700g) fresh fava bean pods
- Kosher salt
- 2 small carrots (about 4 ounces; 115g), with a small handful of their tenderest greens if available
- 2 tablespoons (30ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1 tablespoon (15ml) fresh juice from 1 lemon, plus a large pinch of grated zest
- 1 small shallot (about 1 ounce; 30g), thinly sliced
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 6 ounces (170g) high-quality ricotta cheese (see note)
- 4 slices hearty toast
Open up fava bean pods and remove individual beans. Discard pods. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil and prepare an ice bath. Add fava beans to pot and cook until crisp-tender, about 1 minute. Transfer fava beans to ice bath and allow to chill for 1 minute. Carefully peel off and discard the outer skin from each bean.
Scrub carrots under cold running water. Rinse greens (if using). Using a sharp knife, a vegetable peeler, or a mandoline, very thinly slice carrots on a strong bias. Transfer carrot slices to ice bath and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Add fava beans and shallot. Carefully dry carrots and greens (if using) and add to bowl. Toss to combine and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Spread ricotta over the bottom of a serving plate and top with dressed vegetables. Serve with toast. Drizzle with more olive oil just before serving, if desired.
Use a high-quality store-bought ricotta that contains no gums or thickeners. The ingredients should list only milk or whey, salt, and a starter culture or acid. Our favorite nationally available brand is Calabro. Alternatively, it's easy to make your own ricotta.