Of course you can buy dried fava beans year round but take advantage of the light, buttery texture and nutty flavor of the young, spring fava beans. Chef Teddy Diggs of Il Palio, North Carolina’s only AAA-rated Four Diamond Italian restaurant in Chapel Hill, North Carolina is always on the look out for exceptional ingredients and has created a simple fava bean salad that combines the fresh beans with extra virgin olive oil, fresh lemon and Pecorino Toscano cheese for a simple springtime dish.
“At Il Palio, our favorite way to serve and enjoy fava beans early in the season is one of the most traditional and simple, just as the Tuscans prepare them and just as the Romans before them. The beauty of the fava bean is best represented when treated simply with respect to the ingredient,” explains Chef Diggs.
Chef Diggs has tips for buying and preparing fava beans. First, peeling mature fava beans can be time-consuming, and so he recommends selecting the smallest, unblemished pods with the smallest bumps. These young beans won’t need to go through the second stage of peeling and the peel of the young beans is tender enough that they can be eaten raw. To peel the pods of the beans, place the pods into a mixing bowl and cover with boiling water. When the water is cool enough to touch, begin peeling by using a paring knife to break the skin. Gently squeeze the pod, and the bright green bean will slide out.
Pecorino Fava Salad Recipe
From Chef Teddy Diggs of Il Palio in Chapel Hill, North Carolina