Burnt Fingers and Fresh Favas

March 22, 2010
2 Ratings
  • Prep time 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Cook time 45 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

Rome. Nothing say's "Rome" like lamb at Easter. It is the quintessential Roman season. Abbacchio al Scottadito, which loosely translated means lamb to burn your fingers. Rib chops hot off of a wood fire, here served over fresh spring fava beans with mint. The ingredients are simple, the favas are a pain in the butt, but I'm fussy about the wood for the grill. I use oak charcoal (mesquite is too strong---almost toxic) and I might throw on a wine barrel stave and a few branches of rosemary. Oak is typical of the wood fuel used in my home town on California's Central Coast. A softer flavor than mesquite. And I can use the local olive oils too. —pierino

Test Kitchen Notes

Very catchy title! I read the recipe through and realized how simple it is. Simplicity is not always easy (think Ted Muehling designs or Howard Backen’s houses). I used hand made oak charcoal, threw on some recent cabernet vine prunings (no barrel staves…in this economy there is a market for all our used barrels). I blanched the fresh favas and carefully shelled them. I prepped fresh local lamb from Sonoma (not from offshore or even Colorado). When the coals were very hot and flameless but smokey, I put the chops on the grill. They cooked quickly (to rare). I sprinkled the favas with olive oil, put them in a BBQ colander-like bowl and shook them over the coals until slightly colored and flavored. The chopped mint was a brilliant splash of green and flavor. I will repeat this recipe many times! - dymnyno —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 8 lamb rib chops, frenched to the bone
  • 2 pounds fresh fava beans, unshelled weight
  • 1 bunch fresh mint
  • 1 clove garlic, cut in half
  • best quality olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • a couple of green onions or calcots (what the hell)
  1. Have your garde manger shell and blanch the fava beans while you prepare the fire outside. Oh, that's you? Sorry. Peeling the little suckers is the tough part but it has to be done. When they are peeled blanch them in about two quarts of simmering hot water.
  2. Use the split halves of garlic to rub all over the lamb chops. Brush them with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and grill over that smokey wood fire.
  3. Meanwhile chop the mint finely and toss it into the blanched favas along with more olive oil. Season and you are on your way.
  4. To serve, spoon out the dressed favas on to each plate and then top with two lamb chops and maybe a grilled green onion. If you like add a lemon wedge.
  5. Notes to cook: in most cases I suggest letting meat rest before serving but in this case it must come straight off of the grill, sizzling hot. The quality of the the fuel does matter. Gas grills are boring and whatever flavor is imparted is empty.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • pierino
  • lorigoldsby
  • Midge
  • Aliwaks
  • dymnyno
Standup commis flâneur, and food historian. Pierino's background is in Italian and Spanish cooking but of late he's focused on frozen desserts. He is now finishing his cookbook, MALAVIDA! Can it get worse? Yes, it can. Visit the Malavida Brass Knuckle cooking page at Facebook and your posts are welcome there.

13 Reviews

pierino May 21, 2018
I just returned from Los Gatos, CA yesterday. Before leaving I hit the Sunday farmers market. Really good fava beans had just arrived (as well as the first cherries of the season).
lorigoldsby May 6, 2011
I missed having lamb at Easter, I missed Rome at Easter, I'll just have to prepare this dish to make up for it!
Midge January 22, 2011
This sounds so fabulous, pierino. Fava season cannot come soon enough.
pierino April 9, 2010
I really want to thank dymnyno for testing this recipe. I especially like the idea of vine cuttings. With wood fire cooking your fuel makes a huge a difference. I've used them before. Gas grills add nothing to your dinner. Maybe it's a California thing, but we do know how to cook meat outside, in the flickering darkness, in this happy state.
Aliwaks March 23, 2010
Late last spring I was having a few people over for dinner in the garden and I completely forgot to tend to my fava's ( it was sous chef's night off) and on a whim coated the pods with olive oil and coarse salt and threw them on the grill till they blistered, and we ate them with our hands,like edamame, popping the beans out of the shells , along side grilled hunks of bread and glasses of rose as an impromtu first was messy and wonderful...just sayin.
dymnyno March 23, 2010
Sounds delicious! Why the central coast? ...further up we grow favas as a cover crop...and we have plenty of barrel staves!
mrslarkin March 23, 2010
Sounds so delicious and easy (once the favas are done.) Tedious jobs like that can be strangely meditative, though.
lastnightsdinner March 23, 2010
I actually love peeling favas. The arrival of fresh fava beans is the thing I look forward to most at the farmers' market. (I also skip the blanching and just peel them raw, a la Judy Rodgers.)
pierino March 23, 2010
Judy Rogers ranks really high on my list. Her book is one that chefs respect and use. And yet she shuns the high profile persona adopted by so many "celebrities" in the cooking world.
monkeymom March 22, 2010
I love fresh favas. I can only bear to peel about two batches of the earliest spring favas I can find. This makes me wish I could go to Rome.
AntoniaJames March 22, 2010
Glad I'm not the only one who considers fava beans a bit, shall we say, annoyingly labor intensive. Where on the Central Coast will you be? Love, love, love this recipe, especially the idea of throwing a stave on the fire. Just reading this makes me want to lick my fingers . . . . . You rock, Pierino.
pierino March 23, 2010
Thanks for that. I'll be moving up to Paso Robles, probably in June. Why? It's an emerging wine and food region. And it's beautiful, sitting there at the bottom of the Salinas Valley. Paso used to be a detour on Hwy101 but now it's a real destination. Be careful about driving your Porsche east on 46.
TheWimpyVegetarian March 23, 2010
Lucky you! I love Paso Robles area. Each year my husband and I try to drive down there for several days of great wine and food and stay at Summer House. Wonderful area that still has a rural feel to it, but lots of exciting things emerging. Enjoy your new home!