Peas, Fava Beans & Herb Flowers with Lemon Ricotta Cream

From such a young age, my daughter and I have shared a special kind of bonding in the kitchen. She was barely 3 years-old when she came to me asking to help me shell the small mountain of fresh fava pods that I took home from the market. I obliged, explaining to her how to go about it while I helped her with the more difficult pods that refuse to open. That started our favorite ritual of shelling pods together. We both enjoy our time while we chat about cooking, vegetables and toddler stories. In fact, it has been effective in making her eat her vegetables because peas are the only ones she eats - sandwiched between tiny pieces of bread. Well, we all have our strange ways of eating.

This is actually a recipe that I had in my archive for some time already, when fresh fava beans and pea pods were abundant and the herb blossoms are coming out. Spring activates my love for color and freshness once again after the grayness of winter. When I create recipes, one of the fundamental aspects I think of the dish is color and all my favorite tones are in these glasses. Violet, yellow and green on white. I can't ask for anymore more colorful than this.

Shelling fresh pods to take out the peas and fava beans takes some time but since I am always in good, chatty company from my 4 year-old, I really don't mind it. She believes that she can plant the beans then a giant beanstalk will grow until the sky that she can climb and see the giant's castle. Remember the fairy tale Jack and the Beanstalk? Our conversations evolve around it.

Blanching retains the vibrant natural green of the vegetables and it's also one of my favorite ways to cook vegetables. When my kids first started eating, I steamed most of their food with no salt, as I followed religiously what their pediatricians instruct me. Instead of steaming, I prefer blanching now because the vegetables remain crispy and fresh. To keep up with the delicious flavors of the greens in this dish, I placed them on a bed of ricotta cream that I flavored with fresh lemon juice and zest. The chive and sage blossoms give a hint of herbs but depending on your taste and their availability, you can also make them optional. I have a lot of them because I have pots of these plants growing around the house.

I hope you enjoy this fresh recipe. I just joined Honest Cooking so you can also see this recipe there. Buon appetito!

More Recipes with Peas and Fava Beans:

Eggs With Green Fava Beans, Peas & Parsley Sauce  
Asparagus, Chive Flowers & Fava Bean Salad With Apple Slaw 
Pizzoccheri with Fava Beans, Pancetta & Tomatoes  

Lemon Ricotta with Peas, Fava Beans & Herb Flowers

Serves 4

  • 1-1/2 cups peas (taken from 500 grams fresh pods)
  • 1 cup fava beans (taken from 500 grams fresh pods)
  • 250 grams ricotta
  • 1 lemon, zest only
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • Herb flowers (chives and sage)
  1. Over medium - high heat, in a saucepan, boil some water.
  2. In a medium bowl, put together some ice and water for the ice water bath. 
  3. When the water in the saucepan boils, cook blanch the peas and fava beans for 3 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer them to the ice water bath. When they have cooled down, drain them well and set them aside. Squeeze out the inner beans from the outer coating.
  4. In a small bowl, mix the ricotta, lemon juice, zest, salt and pepper.
  5. In individual serving glasses, divide the ricotta then add the vegetables & herb flowers.