Fava Bean Salad with Pecorino and Prosciutto
There's nothing more inspiring and exciting than visiting my local farmer's market to find crates overflowing with beautiful fava beans during the peak of spring. This is one of my favorite spring recipes and is a simple, light and delicious salad from Tom Colicchio's Think Like a Chef. Fava beans are the star in this recipe, slightly cooked and married with the saltiness of pecorino cheese and prosciutto. The addition of radishes, fresh herbs, and freshly made walnut paste give the dish extra depth and texture. You can easily substitute the pecorino with a similar cheese such as parmigiano reggiano if you do not have it on hand.
1½ pounds fava beans
1/4 pound prosciutto
5 tablespoons walnuts
2½ tablespoons walnut oil (or olive oil)
2 teaspoons fresh sage
1 tablespoon fresh chives
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Pecorino Romano cheese
1. Add water and salt to a large pot of water and bring it to a boil for blanching the fava beans. In the meantime, remove the fava beans from their shell by pulling on the ends or using a paring knife. Inside the shell you'll see a bunch of beautiful little fava beans, waiting to be blanched.
2. Once your pot of water has reached a strong boil, drop the fava beans into the water and blanch them for about 5 minutes until slightly tender. Next, drain the beans and put them into a water bath of ice water to prevent them from cooking any further. Peel the fava beans from their tough outer skin.
3. Combine the walnuts and walnut oil in a food processor and pulse until a coarse paste is formed. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
4. Slice the radishes very thinly using a japanese mandoline or a very sharp knife.
5. Mince the chives, chop the sage, and combine with the fava beans, walnut paste, and radishes. Put the slices of prosciutto on the plate, top with the fava bean mixture, and drizzle with a squeeze of lemon juice and some extra-virgin olive oil. Shave the pecorino over the top using a vegetable peeler and season with salt and pepper to taste before serving.