Aromatic wild herbs grow everywhere in Sardinia’s highlands, inland from the flashy coast. In the company of fava beans, which are central to the Sardinian diet, these herbs deliver protein, fiber, and deliciousness.
Fava beans, sometimes called broad beans, are one of the earliest vegetables to become available each spring. Sardinians eagerly await the appearance of the first fava and enjoy them in a number of ways, including raw and cooked. This simple dish brings out the best in seasonal eating—a sacred spring rite in Sardinia. It also tastes great with chickpeas for a variation that you can enjoy year-round.
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Small bunch wild garlic or scallions
2 cups fresh fava beans,* shelled
1 cup water
1⁄2 cup chopped fresh mint
Salt and pepper (optional)
In a large pot, sauté scallions in 2 tablespoons of oil for 1 minute, until wilted.
Add fava beans and water; stir to combine.
Simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the fava beans are soft.
Drain the fava beans and scallions and return to pot.
Immediately add mint and remaining olive oil to the warm beans and toss.
Add salt and pepper to taste before serving.
*You can also make this dish with frozen or canned fava beans. If using frozen, defrost and rinse beans; if using canned, drain and rinse. Next, warm drained beans for 2 to 3 minutes in a sauté pan with scallions in 2 table- spoons of extra-virgin olive oil. Remove from heat and immediately add mint and olive oil to warm beans and toss. Add salt and pepper to taste.
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