Friday, May 21, 2010

Fava bean and egg salad

As a scientist I can't help myself but weigh fava beans before and after shelling them every time they cross my path. I had blogged about the experiment here already. And yesterday as usual I took my scale out. This time we had 3 pounds of pods, 1 pound 4 ounces of beans with skin and just under 14 ounces of beans once skinned (28% of the pods' weight). We had enough for 3 generous servings.

The following recipe is inspired by this one, from
  • 3 lbs fresh fava beans (in pods)
  • 2 sprigs thyme or savory
  • 3 brown eggs
  • 3 calçot onions (or green onions)
  • 2 to 3 oz (60 to 85 g) goat cheese*
  • 1 tbsp Banyuls vinegar (or sherry vinegar)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  1. Boil the eggs for 10 minutes then plunge them in cold water.
  2. Remove the dark leaves and the outer skin of the onions and slice them thinly. Place them at the bottom of a salad bowl and cover with 1 tablespoon vinegar.
  3. Shell the fava beans. Boil them with thyme (or savory) in salted water for 5 minutes, then plunge them in cold water to stop the cooking. Pop the beans out of their pale green skin. Place them in the salad bowl.
  4. Peel and slice the eggs. Add them to the salad along with the cheese, shaved or diced depending on how hard it is.
  5. Season with salt, pepper and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Toss.
  6. Serve or refrigerate.
* I used a fresh California goat cheese rolled in herbs that I had handy. I think a hard goat or sheep cheese would work even better.

Monday, May 03, 2010


Here is one of the wonderful surprises of this week's CSA box. As Andrew Griffin explains in the newsletter, agretti is the Italian cousin of the American West's tumbleweed. It starts out with slender succulent leaves with "a unique marine flavor and toothsome quality". As it matures, agretti becomes, like it's American cousin, a sprawling, dry and prickly shrub, which no-one would eat!

Here is what we did, with the help of the newsletter's recipes and advice:

Serves 2
  • 1 bunch agretti, clean (we pulled the leaves from the hard branches and rinsed in cold water twice)
  • 4 slices prosciutto
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  1. Tear the prosciutto into small pieces and pan fry until crisp. Remove from the pan and reserve.
  2. Heat up the olive oil and sauté the agretti until wilted (3 or 4 minutes are enough).
  3. Toss the agretti and prosciutto together and serve warm.
It was a little too salty for my taste (the original recipe called for pancetta) but the crunchiness of the agretti was great and the flavors really pleasant.