Hearts of Butter Lettuce with Fava Beans and Pecorino


Sheep’s milk cheese and fava beans are often paired in Italy. For this salad, look for a sheep’s cheese studded with cracked black peppercorns—usually labeled pecorino pepato (peppered). Alternatively, use Spanish Manchego, Italian pecorino toscano or another shaveable but pepperless sheep’s milk cheese and season the salad with cracked black pepper. From The Cheese Course.


  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  •  1 pound fava beans, shelled
  • 2 heads butter lettuce
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley
  • 2 ounces pecorino pepato or Manchego

In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, vinegar and shallot. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let stand 30 minutes to allow shallot flavor to mellow. Taste and adjust balance as needed.

 Blanch fava beans in a large pot of boiling water until tender (remove, skin and taste one to be sure), 2 to 3 minutes. Drain and transfer to ice water to stop the cooking. Drain again. Remove outer skin, which should slip off easily.

 Remove outer green leaves of butter lettuce until you reach the pale green heart. (Save outer leaves for sandwiches or other uses.) Wash the hearts, tear leaves into smaller pieces, and dry them thoroughly.

 In a bowl, toss butter lettuce and 1 tablespoon parsley with all but 2 teaspoons of dressing. Season with salt and pepper. Divide leaves among four salad plates or arrange on a large platter. With a cheese plane, shave pecorino into thin shards. Break shards up by hand if large and scatter over lettuce. Toss fava beans with remaining 2 teaspoons dressing; season with salt and pepper. Scatter fava beans over salad, then garnish with remaining 1 tablespoon parsley. Serve immediately.

Serves 4