June 6, 2012

Pea and Fava Tartine

Tartine is a fancy French word for an open-faced sandwich. And we have to be honest - we chose to use it to sound a little fancier here. But this simple dish that Michael created deserves some fanciness; it is all that's glorious about spring, spread over focaccia and covered with melted fresh mozzarella. Some chopped chives and a drizzle of good olive oil finish it off. Please, eat this for lunch or dinner sometime soon while the shell beans are in their prime. And if you haven't gotten yourself some fancy olive oil, I must recommend it. I was given some Laudemio as a gift from a very thoughtful and generous parent of one of my preschool students, and we have thoroughly enjoyed it. We've found that it's not worth using for cooking or even in salad dressing - you don't really taste it - but it adds a wonderful flavor when drizzled on top of pasta, risotto, or of course this lovely tartine.

Pea and Fava Tartine (serves 4)

- 1.5 lbs English peas 
- 1.5 lbs fava beans
- Focaccia
- 8 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced thinly
- 1 bunch chives, chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Olive oil to taste

Shell the fava beans and the peas, and bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Put the fava beans in first, setting the timer for five minutes, and add the peas in when there are two minutes left. Drain the peas and favas.

Next, you need to remove the favas from their waxy, whitish skin. If you haven't done this before, we find that the easiest way is to use your fingernails to make a hole in the outer layer of skin, on the opposite side from the dark colored "seam." Then squeeze from the seam side (the opposite side of the hole you just made) and pop the little green bean out of the shell. If the favas are very large, split them in half through the middle (they should do this on their own fairly easily).

Toss the peas and favas in a bowl with a drizzle of olive oil (non-fancy will serve just fine here - you just want to get them coated) and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Turn the broiler on to high.

Slice your focaccia open through the middle to whatever size sandwich you desire, and put the focaccia on a piece of foil on a cookie sheet. Cover each piece of focaccia with a generous helping of peas and favas, then top with slices of mozzarella. 

Broil until the cheese is melted and slightly browned (about 5 minutes, depending on your broiler). Remove from the broiler and finish with a sprinkling of the chives, your nice olive oil, if you're into that, a bit more salt (some chunky sea salt would be perfect) and a generous grind of pepper.

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