This fava bean salad recipe calls for walnuts and pears and is a fresh harbinger of spring. Enjoy!
2 pounds fava beans, in their pods
2 tablespoons fresh mint, minced
1 shallot, minced
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1/4 cup pancetta, diced into 1/4-inch cubes
1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely crushed by hand
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4-1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 asian pear
Bring a small (1- to 2-quart) saucepan of water to a boil as you remove the fava beans from their pods. Blanch the beans by dropping them into the boiling water and cooking for 1-2 minutes, just enough to loosen the tough skins.
Fill a small bowl with ice water. Scoop the favas out of the boiling water with a metal skimmer or strainer and drop into the ice water to "shock" them and stop the cooking process. Peel the tough skins off each bean, reserving the tender inner beans and tossing the peeled skins.
Whisk 1 tablespoon of the mint, the minced shallot, and the vinegar together in a small mixing bowl. Set aside, allowing the vinegar to soften and mellow the flavor of the shallots.
Heat the guanciale in a medium (10-inch) skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally for 7-10 minutes as the pork renders its fat. When the pork is opaque and crisp, add the walnuts and cook, stirring, for about 3-5 minutes more to toast the walnuts.
Add the reserved fava beans and the remaining tablespoon of the mint and cook for about a minute more. Remove from the heat.
Whisk the olive oil into the reserved vinegar mixture and add salt and pepper to taste.
Scrape the favas, walnuts, and guanciale into a bowl and add the diced pear. Toss with the dressing and serve warm.