QUICK! If you’re in the southern hemisphere get to the markets quickly before the spring ends and some crucial ingredients disappear. This dish is a classic Sicilian plate originating in the west of Sicily. Late in the artichoke season throughout Italy, you will find fave beans being sold right next to artichokes, so it’s inevitable that they will find themselves in some recipes together. The further south you make your way in Italy you will see an increasing abundance of both artichokes and fave beans. The dish photographed above is from Trattoria Piccolo Napoli in Palermo A Slowfood listed restaurant specialising in seafood with a generous offering of vegetable antipasti and side dishes.
You may know fave beans as broad beans where you come from. Once they are removed from their pods they need to have their skins removed. (This is not absolutely essential and certainly wasn’t done in the past when every little morsel counted.) The easiest way to remove the skin from each bean is to toss them into boiling water for half a minute. Remove and refresh under cold water. You will notice the skin wrinkle and lift off the bean, which then can be easily removed with a knife or your fingers. You can also make this with dried fave beans which will need soaking overnight. It’s not the same as the fresh experience but the flavour is unmistakable. It’s also ok to use frozen peas but remember to halve the weight indicated in this recipe.