Updated 2018. 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. Take the beans and 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 untill 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. Into a serving dish, place the blended fava beans puree and arrange the cooked chicory in the center. Finish with extra virgin olive oil on top and….Buon Appetito!