Fava beans are a spring favorite in southern and central Italy. This salad, adapted from Patricia Wells' Trattoria (William Morrow 1993) is popular as a starter or as part of an antipasto spread. If you can only find a hard grating pecorino, use a soft goat cheese. If there are leftovers, saute the beans and cheese with a little oil in a small skillet. They are fragrant and delicious as a warm appetizer. 2 pounds fresh unshelled fava beans (about 2 cups shelled beans)

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 teaspoon dried leaf oregano

3 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, snipped with scissors

1/8 teaspoon crushed red peppers (hot red pepper flakes), or to taste

8 ounces soft sheep's milk cheese such as a pecorino or a soft fresh goat's milk cheese, cut in small cubes

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Remove the fava beans from the long pods, then boil in hot water for a minute or two before blanching in ice cold water.

In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients, and toss to blend. Taste for seasoning.

recipe from www.npr.org