This meal wouldn’t have begun as it did if I hadn’t spotted those fava beans.
While shopping at Buon Italia this afternoon I happened to see two or three still-unopened bright green pods on plates lying on the wooden dining table near the back of the store. This was the corner where the owner’s own family and workers take their mid-day meal. Along with half a loaf of one of those familiar Italian Easter breads with the embedded eggs, the fava were among the remains of what appeared to have been a beautiful seasonal lunch just ended. I assumed the beans had come from the large greengrocer across the hall, and immediately headed over there to find out.
Every year at the greenmarket I discover I’ve somehow missed out on the earliest tender beans (which require no cooking) and I have to resign myself to the long preparation process needed to enjoy the pleasures of this ancient legume. This spring it may look like I’ve finally gotten ahead of the game, but I think the folks who bring our local bounty to Union Square will still be keeping the youngest, tenderest stock all for themselves.
- raw fava beans from Manhattan Fruit Exchange in the Chelsea Market, for shelling at the table, eaten with salt and pieces of Pecorino Romano cheese and accompanied with a select olive oil and slices of ciabatta from Sullivan Street Bakery, both the cheese and the bread purchased at Garden of Eden
- wine: 2007 Corvo (Sicily) Insolia in from Philippe Wine in Chelsea
- rolled pork belly from Dickson’s Farmstand in the Chelsea Market, roasted with garlic and rosemary; accompanied with sauteed slices of Yukon Gold potatoes from Garden of Eden, finished with balsamic vinegar; and wilted leaves of young cavalo nero from Norwich Meadows Farms in Norwich, New York, purchased at the Union Square Greenmarket
- wine: Navarra red, Javier Asensio Reserva 2000 from Wine Messenger
- Turkish dried figs from Garden of Eden