Springtime means fava beans in Italy!
Spring in Italy has arrived, and with it, the abundant and beautiful produce that it bears. While so many veggies herald the season, fava beans are synonymous with returning flowers, sun and warmth.
If you were to eat in Italy right now, you might find a plate of lightly blanched favas still in the pods next to a plate of pancetta. There is a unique pleasure in popping the tender green morsels from their pods one by while blessing every other bite with the savory, fatty salt of a great pancetta. It is a divine combination of sweet, verdant and innocent vegetable consumed with the hedonistic and unctuous pleasure of lard. Similar to shelling peanuts one by one or working your way through a platter of crab legs, eating favas in this way is a very convivial ritual.
You might also see favas in a salad tossed with thinly shaved sheep’s milk cheese, or stewed with peas and artichokes. Europeans have been wise to the abundant nutritional contribution of favas for millennia, but Americans are finally becoming aware of this culinary star and the bean’s availability stateside is increasing, thanks to our fervent Italophilia.
Look for the beans, usually found in their long pods at your local grocer and enjoy spring like an Italian.