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Fava Bean and Pecorino Salad

Tender spring fava beans are prized in southern Italy, where they are often eaten raw with young pecorino cheese. Here, this pleasing pairing is turned into a delicate salad with the addition of leaf lettuce, olive oil and lemon juice.

Ingredients:

  • 4 lb. fava beans
  • 2 1/2 to 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. minced green onion, including tender
      green portions
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Fresh lemon juice, to taste
  • 8 to 12 soft lettuce leaves, preferably red
  • 2 oz. young pecorino cheese, such as Toscanello
      or Manchego

Directions:

Shell the fava beans. Have ready a bowl of ice water. Bring a pot three-fourths full of water to a boil over high heat. Add the fava beans and boil for 2 minutes, then drain. Transfer to the bowl of ice water to stop the cooking, then drain. Peel by pinching one end of each bean; it will slip easily from the skin.

In a bowl, mix together the fava beans, olive oil, to taste, and green onion. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Tear the lettuce into bite-size pieces and add to the bowl. Toss gently.

Using a vegetable peeler, shave the cheese into paper-thin slices directly into the bowl. Toss gently. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Transfer to a serving platter.
Serves 4.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Lifestyles Series, Classic Pasta at Home, by Janet Fletcher (Time-Life Books, 1998).