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Baby Artichoke and Fava Bean Salad with Pecorino
(recipe, Ivy Manning)
Preparing baby artichokes is a bit easier than more mature artichokes, since there’s no fuzzy choke in the center to wrestle with. Fava beans are a bit more work, requiring shelling, blanching, and peeling away their pastel-green leathery skins. Your reward is sweet butter beans best served barely cooked, with minimal additions like light olive oil or young sheep’s-milk cheese.
- 3 lb. young fava beans
- Ice water for blanching
- 1 large lemon, halved
- 10 baby artichokes
- 3 Tbsp. olive oil
- ⅔ cup thinly sliced shallots
- ½ cup dry white wine or vermouth
- ½ tsp. chopped fresh thyme leaves
- ½ cup water or chicken stock
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 oz. pecorino or other mild sheep’s-milk cheese
- 1 small loaf of crusty bread
- Prepare the favas: Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, shell the fava beans by snapping off the tip of each pod and pressing at the seam to open the pods. Pop out the beans with your thumb. When the water boils, cook them until they are just tender to the bite, 30 seconds to 1 minute depending on size. Drain and place in the ice water to stop them from overcooking. Peel the tough light green skin from each bean and discard.
- Prepare the artichokes: Fill a medium bowl with cold water and the juice from one lemon half. Snap off the artichoke leaves until you reach the tender yellow-green cores, rubbing all cut surfaces with the remaining lemon half as you work to prevent browning. Slice off the top quarters and then, with a sharp peeler or paring knife, pare away the tough stems and green layers around the bases. Halve the artichokes lengthwise and toss them into the lemon water.
- Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat, add the shallots, and cook until translucent but not brown, about 4 minutes. Drain the artichokes and pat them dry with paper towels. Add them to the shallots and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Raise the heat to medium-high, add the wine, and boil until the wine is reduced by half, about 8 minutes. Add the thyme and water or stock, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes or until the artichokes are tender when pierced with a fork.
- Add the fava beans and cook until the beans are just warm, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper and transfer the mixture to a serving dish. With a sharp vegetable peeler, shave the cheese over the dish. Serve with the bread as a first course or as a side dish for chicken or fish.