Saturday, May 8, 2010

La Frittedda—Smothered Artichokes, Fava Beans, and Peas with Fennel, Palermo Style

Cooking Italy Assignment
La Frittedda—Smothered Artichokes, Fava Beans, and Peas with Fennel, Palermo Style, p454

La frittedda is a dish of fresh, young spring vegetables. Of course one can compromise with some frozen ones, but fresh would be best. I made about a half recipe with one globe artichoke, about 700g of fava beans, frozen peas, and wild fennel, which I realized that we have growing on the South Forty (still with last year's seed stalks).

Most of the work in this recipe comes in the preparation of the vegetables. I love favas but they are a lot of trouble. Peeling a batch is fairly pleasant when you can sit outside and enjoy the sun. Not today, though. Once that's done, you get to quickly parboil and then peel the beans, one by one, so that each bean has had your undivided attention. But they sure taste good. Hazan doesn't have you parboil and peel the fava beans, and I find this recommended in most places, except when you have very young, just-picked favas. Which I didn't.

I got carried away popping off the leaves of the artichoke, and we ended up with just the artichoke bottom, which I cut into eighths pieces. First the onions are sautéed in some olive oil. Then the artichokes and fennel are added and cooked till the chokes are almost done. Most of the way through, I checked the chokes and thought they were not cooking as quickly as I'd like, so I halved my eight pieces. Lastly the prepared favas and (frozen, defrosted) peas are added and cooked briefly.

Quite a pretty spring-green dish, and very tasty, too. We didn't much like the wild fennel to eat, and it's not all that attractive, lying stringy there in the dish. However, it did lend a nice flavor to the rest of the dish. If I should happen to find some smaller artichokes before long, I might try this again.

1 comment:

  1. It does look spring-y and green! You make it all sound so easy and look so delightful!