We have to say that when Colman Andrews describes an impromptu Roman picnic of salami, cherries, favas and pecorino in The Country Cooking of Italy, it's pretty darn romantic. The man has a wonderful ability to make you feel as though you're basking in the Italian springtime sunshine, enjoying every moment.
But lucky for those of us without Roman vacation plans, Colman has approximated this picnic dish in The Country Cooking of Italy. Sweet and nutty, briefly blanched and peeled favas are tossed with salty bits of crumbled young pecorino and drizzled with olive oil. Simple? Well sure, but this snack is really all about the simplicity and goodness of the ingredients. A pattern that we'll see repeated all this week cooking our way through this book.
What Worked: Sweet spring favas play off tangy percorino brilliantly, each possessing its own distinct nuttiness.
What Didn't: No complaints here. We could snack on this stuff tutto il giorno.
Suggested Tweaks: Favas are fleeting, but if you catch 'em in time, be sure to pair 'em up with at least a cheese or two.
- Yield:serves 4
- Active time: 10 minutes
- Total time:10 minutes
- 2 cups/300 grams shelled fresh fava/broad beans (about 2 pounds/1 kilogram in the pod)
- 6 ounces/175 grams young pecorino sardo or pecorino romano, broken into small, irregular pieces
- 1 to 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
Bring a medium pot of unsalted water to a boil over high heat, add the shelled favas, and blanch for about 30 seconds. Drain them and rinse under cold running water, then peel them by squeezing them gently from one end so they slip out of their skins.
Meanwhile, refill the pot with fresh salted water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the favas and cook just until they begin to soften, 1 to 2 minutes (depending on size). Drain them and rinse under cold running water, then pat them dry with paper towels.
Scatter the pecorino pieces on a serving plate, then scatter the favas over them. Drizzle the cheese and favas with a little oil and season them lightly with salt before serving.