One of the best reasons to grow vegetables is you get to eat food that almost no one else has access to. Arugula blossoms. Green coriander seed. Fennel pollen. Garlic scapes. Foods that are so special and delicate that they never find their way into a grocery store and only show up sometimes at the farmer’s market. I thought I had sampled almost all of these little gourmet extras, but it turns out I had a fabulous crop growing in my garden and I didn’t even realize it: fava greens. I always grow favas for their delicious beans, but a student in my Kitchen Garden Series class told me he makes pesto with his fava bean greens. I immediately went home and sampled a leaf.
Hello! The greens are fabulous. Big, succulent, and with a faint fava-y flavor.
I couldn’t wait to try cooking with the greens. Since my favas haven’t flowered yet, I decided to be prudent and only snipped off one pair of leaves from each plant. This yielded one packed cup of greens. Not nearly enough for pesto, but plenty for an extra special lunch.
I hurried into the kitchen, tossed a couple of slices of olive bread under the broiler to toast and wilted the greens in just a bit of oil. Then I rubbed the toast with garlic, drizzled it with my favorite olive oil, and layered on a thick slice of ricotta salata cheese, the fava greens, and slices of warm boiled egg. I ate the toasts on my porch in the sun. It was perfect.
Garlic Toasts with Wilted Fava Greens, Ricotta Salata, and Hard Boiled Egg
I used rosemary olive bread for the toasts and eggs from our chickens. Very fresh eggs are difficult to peel, so I always try to hard boil eggs that are at least a week old.
What you’ll need:
1 packed cup of fava greens
1 tsp olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 thick slices of good bread
1 clove garlic, peeled
Ricotta salata cheese
Place the eggs in a medium saucepan and fill it with cool water (the eggs should be covered by about an inch of water). Bring the water to boil over high heat. Begin watching the pan carefully when little bubbles begin rising up. As soon as the first big bubble breaks on the surface, set a timer for one minute. When the timer buzzes, remove the pan from the heat and let the eggs sit for exactly one more minute. Then drain off the hot water and run the eggs under cold water until they are cool enough to handle. Peel immediately. The eggs will have perfectly cooked whites and yolks that have just barely solidified at their core. (This timing was developed in my kitchen, which is at sea level. You may need to add more time if cooking at a higher elevation.)
Meanwhile, rinse the fava greens in cool water. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the wet fava greens into the pan and toss until they are just wilted (30 seconds or less).
Toast the bread lightly. Rub the garlic clove over the surface of the toasts and then drizzle with olive oil. Top each piece of toast with a thick slice of ricotta salata cheese, fava greens, and slices of hard boiled egg. Sprinkle kosher salt and freshly ground pepper over the eggs. Serve immediately.