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Shaved Fennel, Asparagus and Fava Bean Salad

Paul Canales, Oliveto Restaurant

Yield: 4 servings

  • 1 lb. young fresh fava beans in the pod
  • 2 bulbs fennel
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 6 spears asparagus
  • 1-3 Tbs. lemon juice
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, to taste
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 oz. sharp Pecorino Romano cheese

Prep fava beans by snapping the beans from their pods, using your thumbs to push them out. Boil a pot of water, and blanch the beans for 30 seconds. If they are very young, you can leave the skins on the beans—taste one first, and if they are at all starchy, bitter or astringent, pop all the beans from the skins. Set aside.

Trim any dark spots from the fennel, but leave whole. Shave fennel thin on the mandoline, using the stalks as a handle. The fennel may start to separate; then shave individual pieces. Be careful not to shave fingers—losing a little fennel is preferable!

Peel the celery by cutting almost through the top and grabbing the strings with the knife, or use an asparagus peeler; then thinly slice the stalks on the  bias.

Trim the asparagus by snapping off the woody bottom, and slice the stalks thinly, on an angle.

Toss the favas, fennel, celery and asparagus with just enough lemon juice to make the flavors bright, and some salt. Divide onto 4 plates, then shave pecorino over each with a vegetable peeler, and drizzle the portions with olive oil. Finish with freshly ground black pepper, and serve.