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Raw Fava Beans on Manchego with Salami

Raw Fava Beans with Manchego and Salami

Favas usually have their big moment this time of year at our local farmer’s markets. Look around and you’ll notice they’re in everybody’s ubiquitous burlap bag. I once saw a prominent movie star make a rude gesture using an extra-large raw fava pod. Once he got his big laugh he put it back in the pile. This was pre-COVID – so I didn’t bust him.

I tell this old silly story (with its lackluster ending) because Ken and I ventured out to the farmer’s market this past week for the first time since our mid-March COVID-lockdown began. I felt we were missing out on the best of the best when it comes to seasonal produce. It’s almost too late for raw fava beans. So you can imagine my stress level.

Which means of course, whether you’re an A‑list actor a C‑list food blogger, we all found ourselves elbow-to-elbow scooping raw fava beans into burlap bags during a pandemic. I had one of those “only in LA moments” and decided to be cool with it.

I typically harken the spring each year with a post featuring fava beans. Pandemic rules applied this year and it’s taken me until July to get my full fava flava on. I hope you’ll forgive me.

Fava beans have a reputation as being difficult. The choosing. The shucking. The tedious last step of peeling off the tough outer skin from each and every fava bean. All of this before you even begin to cook.

Fava Beans, Manchego, & Salami

I feel your fava fear and have a recipe today that at least requires no cooking. Sure you still have all that choosing, shucking, and even the tedious last step of peeling off the tough outer skin from each and every fava bean.

But it’s worth it. GREG

PS Do I need to say anything about how perfect this combination of tastes and textures is? It’s inspired by Judy Rodgers so I don’t think so…

Fava Strawberry Salad
Raw Fava Beans
Raw Fava Beans with Manchego and Salami
Raw Fava Beans with Manchego and Salami

Raw Fava and Mint on Manchego Cheese with Salami Slices

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 12Source Adapted from Judy RodgersPublished

For perfect triangles of manchego ask someone at the cheese counter to slice an approximately 5‑ounce wedge into 6 (¼‑inch) slices. Once you get them home, cut them straight down the middle into 12 triangles.

Raw Fava and Mint on Manchego Cheese with Salami Slices

Ingredients

  • 1 pound whole young fava beans (in their pods)
  • 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1–2 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves (to taste)
  • freshly cracked black pepper (to taste)
  • 12 very thin slices of Tuscan salami (about 2 ounces)
  • 12 (¼‑inch thick) slices manchego cheese (about 5 ounces, cut into “tortilla chip” sized triangles (see notes)
  • whole blanched almonds (optional)

Directions

Prepare the fava topping: Remove the fava beans from their pods. Next, peel away the tough outer skin encasing each bean. This can be a tedious chore but if you knick the casing with your fingernail the rest should easily peel away. Try a couple of different methods and have fun with it. For this recipe resist the temptation to blanch the fava beans before peeling. Sure the peeling will be easier but the taste and texture will be affected. Which for some recipes is just fine, but not this one. Once peeled split the favas in half along their natural separation point. You should have about 3/4 of a cup shelled, peeled, and separated fava beans. Place them in a small bowl and toss them with olive oil, chopped mint, and several big grinds of black pepper.

Assemble the dish: Lay the salami comfortably distanced on a large serving plate. Center a manchego slice in the center of each slice of salami, then top the cheese with a tablespoon or so of the fava mixture. Serve immediately with almonds on the side (if using). I encourage you to pick these up by the salami and eat them “taco-style”.