When we are in Umbria, I find I am a much more inspired cook than when we are living elsewhere. I love nothing more than to visit our local outdoor markets a few times a week to buy local, fresh seasonal ingredients, take them home into my kitchen and create tasty things for us to enjoy. Here in Umbria, the market stalls in the spring are overflowing with such treats as artichokes, fava beans, and baby peas. Our fava bean season is all too short, so I find myself buying them at almost every market visit while they are in season. This week I bought bags full of fava beans and made some fava bean puree for the freezer that I can use throughout the summer months when fresh fava beans are no longer available, as well as a big pot full of fava bean and farro soup for us to enjoy at lunch.
The fava beans we are buying now are still pretty young and fresh, and although you can eat them raw, I prefer them lightly blanched. This easy recipe uses lightly blanched and peeled fava beans that I marinate with a little lemon juice, minced garlic, extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and cracked black pepper. I serve the marinated fava beans spooned on top of sliced burrata or mozzarella cheese, along with a couple of slices of grilled bread brushed with olive oil. We love this dish for lunch, but arranged on a platter you could also use it as a great spring appetizer. Simply slice a few balls of cheese, arrange on a platter and spoon the fava beans on top. Serve with a basket of grilled sliced bread to spoon the cheese and fava beans on top of, and your guests will thouroughly enjoy this spring treat. We love fava beans prepared this way served both with burrata cheese as well as buffalo mozzarella, and both work really well. If you cannot find either of these cheeses, fresh mozzarella will work, but just make sure it is very fresh. Use your very best extra virgin olive oil, and some fresh cracked black pepper to ensure the best flavor.
Not familiar with Burrata cheese? Burrata is a fresh Italian cheese, made from mozzarella and cream. The outer shell is solid mozzarella while the inside contains both mozzarella and cream, giving it an unusual, soft texture. The name “burrata” means “buttered” in Italian. This cheese is delicious, but is best eaten very fresh soon after it is purchased. Interested in learning more about fava beans? Check out my article Celebrating Fava Beans
Deborah Mele 2012
Marinated Fava Beans With Burrata Cheese
Fresh fava beans are a great accompaniment to fresh burrata or mozzarella cheese.
- 2 Pounds Fava Beans
- Juice of 1/2 Lemon
- 1 Garlic Clove, Peeled & Minced
- 1/3 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Seas Salt & Cracked Black Pepper
- 2 Balls of Burrata or Mozzarella Cheese (See Above)
- 8 Slices Grilled Crusty Bread Slices, Brushed With Olive Oil
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Additional Cracked Black Pepper
- Remove the fava beans from the pods and place in a bowl.
- Bring a pot of water to boil and dump the shelled fava beans into the pot.
- Boil the beans for about 4 to 5 minutes, then drain and run under cold water.
- Pinch the outer skin of the fava beans on one end to tear it, gently squeeze and pop out the beans into a bowl, discarding the outer skins.
- Continue to remove the skins from all the fava beans in this manner.
- Add the lemon, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper to the fava beans and toss to mix.
- Let the fava beans rest in the marinade for 30 minutes.
- Slice the cheese, and arrange equally on four individual bowls.
- Spoon the fava bean mixture on top, and then add two slices of grilled bread to each plate.