Asparagus Salad with Fava Bean Sauce

Here is a recipe that really tastes of spring. Pecorino is a cheese that is really delicious. It is a simple sheep’s milk cheese from Italy — worth trying to find because it goes so well with Fava Beans. Parmesan is a totally different cheese but can be used if you can’t fine Pecorino.


  • 1 lb. thin, green asparagus
  • 1/2 lb. young fava beans in shells
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3 Tbs. plus 2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 lb. pecorino cheese, freshly grated
  • 1 head red lettuce
  • 1/2 box cherry tomatoes
  • 1 Tbs. white wine vinegar
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper


Trim the asparagus at the point where the stems get tough, discarding the tough ends. Place the asparagus in a stainless steel saute pan, pour over 1 inch of boiling water, cover and steam over high heat until the asparagus is tender when pierced with a fork.

Meanwhile, remove the fava beans from their large pods. Drop the beans into a saucepan of rapidly boiling water, simmer for 30 seconds, drain and let rest until cool enough to handle. Remove the green beans from the shell of each fava.

Place the garlic clove with a generous pinch of salt and 3 Tbs. olive oil in small saucepan over medium high heat and cook 2 minutes. Add the fava beans and continue to cook gently for 3 more minutes. Mash the fava beans with a potato masher. Turn off heat, stir in half the cheese. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

In a medium bowl, place the vinegar and salt. Add the olive oil and pepper and whisk until smooth. Add the washed lettuce, cut into 1 inch pieces and the cherry tomatoes cut in half. Coat each the salad with the viniagrette. Place the greens and tomatoes on eight salad plates, arrange the asparagus down the center of the greens, spoon over the fava bean sauce, and sprinkle over the remaining cheese.

Note: You can simply serve the asparagus with fava bean sauce and a piece of pecorino cheese without the salad.