Alright folks, I’m calling a temporary hiatus on the sweet and the sugary, buttery and just plain fattening. I’m on a diet! It’s not one of those diets where I want to gradually lose weight by crafting a healthy, sustainable lifestyle. No no no, I need to drop pounds quickly because I’m getting married in exactly two months!!! (The invitations went out last week; we’ve officially mobilized the troops. Gulp.)
For the record, because I know there are those of you reading this who know me in real life (hi Jeannie!), I am not overweight. But the food bloggers among you might be a little more understanding. After all, we make food, and lots of it. And unless your will is made of steel, you’re bound to eat more than you’d like. (My will is made primarily of marshmallows.) I tried on a few shirts the other day, shirts that fit me perfectly fine last summer, and realized that they’d grown a little snug. Not good, not good at all.
So that’s the story behind this recipe. As I’ve never seriously undergone a diet before, I’m not sure how to approach this new way of eating. It’s not like I eat unhealthily most of the time, ya know? So I’ll rely on common sense rather than the dictates of an official Diet, that is, lots of vegetables, lots of fruit, smaller portions, etc. etc. Nothing revolutionary or dramatic. We don’t even own a scale.
I absolutely love fava beans. After receiving my copy of Polpo awhile back, I’d made a note to myself to make a certain broad bean, mint, & ricotta bruschette as soon as broad beans (also known as fava beans) were in season. The time has come. But instead of serving the bruschette on toasted bread, I decided to toss it on a bed of arugula instead, thereby turning it into a vegetable-packed and therefore very wholesome meal.
It’s the trinity of fava beans, mint, and lemon zest that serve as the backbone to this salad’s flavor. Or rather, the mint and lemon zest do wonders to the flavor of the fava bean, brightening its somewhat stodgy taste. (You know what I mean, right? It’s part of the reason why I love fava beans.) With the roundness of ricotta cheese and the sharpness of arugula, I think this recipe came out really well-balanced and flavorful. (Although, and I’m realizing this only now, I do believe fava beans might be out of season… are they? They came exceptionally late to our farmer’s markets this year, and I held onto this recipe for a bit longer than I should have. Sorry!)
So if everything goes as planned, in two months’ time, I’ll be ready to face the people. (Yes, some part of me realizes how melodramatic I sound. But please don’t get me started on how ridiculous the societal pressures on the bride-to-be are. A wedding is supposed to be about the witnessing of a spiritual union between two people who’ve made a committment to spend the rest of their lives together. So why do I feel like I’m supposed to present myself at my most beautiful and blushing? How have I lose sight of the whole point? Why do I care so much?! … I’ll have all the answers when this is all over.)
FAVA BEAN SALAD WITH MINT AND RICOTTA CHEESE
Adapted from Polpo
Serves 2 pretty hefty portions
2 cups podded fava beans
1/2 cup ricotta cheese (preferably homemade—easy as pie, promise!)
30 mint leaves
3 handfuls arugula
2 Tbsp olive oil
Zest of one lemon and a good squirt of lemon juice
Salt and fresh pepper to taste
Place the fava beans in boiling water for a couple minutes, then plunge into cold water, drain, and remove their skin. Toss the beans carefully with the cheese, and mint leaves, and arugula. Then mix in the olive oil and lemon zest/juice until combined.
Serve with salt and pepper, and any kind of bread.