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Warm Fava Bean and Cherry Tomato Salad with Poached Egg
Warm Fava Bean and Cherry Tomato Salad with Poached Egg Photo courtesy of Andres Aravena

Like rising temperatures and hemlines, fava beans have always signaled the start of spring to us. At Oak Tavern, Miami chef David Bracha celebrates their arrival with this light salad, which showcases the smooth beans alongside a poached egg, lightly roasted cherry tomatoes, salty ham and delicate basil leaves. Bracha intended this dish to be an appetizer, but we discovered it works perfectly as a simple main course. Weather permitting, we recommend eating it alfresco with a glass of chilled white wine.

Makes 4 servings

15 fava bean pods, shelled

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

25 cherry tomatoes

2 thin slices speck or other high-quality ham, finely chopped (about ¼ cup)

2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar

4 eggs

2 small shallots, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 thyme sprigs, leaves removed

8 large basil leaves, torn

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 thin slices French baguette, preferably whole wheat, toasted

1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, prepare an ice-water bath and set aside. Add the fava beans to the boiling water and cook for 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fava beans to the ice-water bath to cool. Once cool, peel the skin off the fava beans. Set the fava beans aside and discard the skins.

2. In a medium skillet set over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the reserved fava beans and tomatoes, then cook, stirring occasionally, until barely browned, about 3 minutes. Add the speck (or ham) and cook, stirring occasionally, until the speck is slightly crispy, about 3 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, line a plate with paper towels and set aside. Fill a saucepan two-thirds full with water and add the vinegar. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce it to a simmer. Crack the eggs one at a time into a small bowl, then slide them into the simmering water. Poach until the whites are set but the yolks are still runny, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the eggs to the paper-towel-lined plate.

4. Add the shallots, garlic and thyme to the skillet; continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the fava beans are tender but not mushy, the shallots have softened and the tomatoes are starting to break down, about 5 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat, add the basil leaves and season to taste with salt and pepper.

5. Divide the fava bean mixture among four plates and top each serving with a slice of toasted bread. Place a poached egg on top of each slice and serve immediately.

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