As part of our second special report on Puglia, we interviewed Laura Giordano, who runs the cooking school La Cucina at Gelso Bianco. She graciously shared this recipe for a staple on Pugliese tables, cicoria e fave, which is a puree of fava beans, topped with chicory. This dish really showcases the simple recipes of Puglia and their reliance on fresh vegetables and olive oil.
2/3 pound (300 g) dried fava beans
2 1/4 pounds (1 kg) wild chicory (or dandelion)
Half a medium red onion, finely sliced
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
Salt to taste
Extra virgin olive oil, some for cooking and some for finishing
1. The day before or overnight: Soak the fava beans for 12 hours minimum with some bay leaf.
2. Put the beans in a pot with enough water to cover them by at least an inch (tip: use the soaking water).
3. Bring the pot to a boil and simmer the beans for about 2 hours or until they become extremely soft and creamy. When the beans are done, stir them about with a wooden spoon to reduce them to a puree (if you want you can use a blender).
4. While the beans are simmering, wash the chicory, cut off the end of the stems (2 to 3 inches) and boil it in a large pot. Drain the chicory with a colander and sautee with garlic and olive oil in a pan.
5. Place the blended fava bean puree into a serving dish and arrange the cooked chicory in the center. Finish with extra virgin olive oil on top and….Buon Appetito!