People who know me would tell you that it's hard to tell which I like more: gardening or cooking. I'd say it depends on which I'm doing at the moment. Anyway, French cooking and French gardening go hand in hand. For me, cooking is an on-going adventure. Join me here on my culinary explorations, where I share with you both my old favorites as well as new inspirations. It's my fondest wish that these recipes serve as a springboard for your own new creations.
07/21/2005 Fava bean salad, pancetta chips(Salade des fèves au chips de pancetta)
To serve 4 as a first course:
2.5 lbs. fresh young fava beans in pod 1 small red onion, sweet onion, or 2 "oignons blanc" 4 thin slices pancetta or coppa Leaves of 3-4 springs flat-leaved parsley Fresh lemon juice Best quality extra virgin olive oil Excellent sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Shell the fava beans. Bring a pot of water to a boil, dump in the beans, leave in the water for 90 seconds for young beans, 2 minutes if beans are very large, drain and refresh under cold running water. Remove the tough skin from each bean by piercing the end of the bean with the "suture" line and squeezing the bean out of this opening between thumb and forefinger.
Cut the onion in half and slice paper thin. If using a red onion, soak the slices in cold water for several minutes, drain, and dry in paper towels.
Toss the beans with the parsley, the onion, a couple of spoons of fruity olive oil (to taste) and season with fresh lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.
Just before serving, cut the pancetta or coppa into strips about 1/2" wide and saute in a dry skillet until crisp. Top each portion with the "chips" of pancetta or coppa. Serve immediately in pretty bowls.
Note: This is perhaps my favorite way to eat fresh favas and I could easily eat half of this recipe myself. Although simplicity itself, this preparation makes the most of the favas' complex flavor, irresistable texture, and delicate jade color.