I headed out to the Harvard Farmer’s Market Tuesday intent on not buying too much. I’m going on vacation today and didn’t want to leave a drawer full of veggies to wilt and mold while I’m gone.
It was a tough assignment. Strawberries that look like jewels beckoned, along with bursting bunches of rainbow chard and the most wonderful looking oblong radishes. I did fall for a head of red leaf lettuce so shaggy it reminded me of a Muppet character, a pint of the sweetest grape tomatoes, and a lovely little knot of fig filled burrata. If you’ve never had burrata, stop reading now and head to your local farmer’s market or cheese shop. You know how I was talking the other day about food experiences that will change your life? Well, your first taste of burrata is one of those experiences. Silken on the outside, and creamy on the inside, subtlety sweet and salty at the same time, it is the Nirvana of cheese. Though I buy it fairly often there is NEVER leftover burrata in my house.
I was about to leave the market when a basket set in the corner of one of the stalls caught my eye. The giant legumes beckoned like sirens and I couldn’t resist. Fresh favas.
I almost never find fresh fava beans around here. Their season is short, and they require some work. I’ve tried the dried ones in the past, but they just aren’t the same. What should be a springy tasting almost crisp bean becomes something mute and mushy… not a good substitute.
Fresh favas in the flesh are a treat. I scooped them into a bag like an 8-year-old at Dylan’s Candy Bar.
Favas basically look like giant green beans. Their pod is too tough to eat, but when you snap them open you find a row of gleaming pale beans nestled in fuzz, like jewels sitting on velvet.
Once you’ve shelled the beans, you’re supposed to remove their white skin. But I was hungry, and lazy, so I didn’t, which is why my favas look so pale. They still tasted good, though I suspect they’d be better if you did it the right way.
To cook my favas, I got a few ounces of bacon out of the freezer, cut it into little pieces and sauteed it in a large frying pan. When the bacon was mostly cooked I added the favas, as well as a bit of olive oil, and cooked them over medium-high heat for five minutes.
While they cooked, I washed my Muppet lettuce and tore it into smaller pieces, sliced the grape tomatoes in half, and cut up half the burrata wheel. All of this went into a big salad bowl.
I also opened a bottle of Gruet sparkling wine, and tried to keep my fingers out of the leftover burrata. I’m a huge fan of sparkling wine in the summertime, and Gruet has been one of my favorites since a bartender on Nantucket turned me on to it. I love that it’s made in New Mexico- who would have thought wine from New Mexico would be any good? It’s also not very expensive.
When the favas and bacon were cooked I emptied the pan over my greens, tomatoes and burrata. Gave it a stir, and viola- Dinner.