This time of year I can't stay away from the farmers' markets, and apparently I'm not the only one judging by this installment from contributor Jim Dixon of RealGoodFood.
I can’t stop buying the early season vegetables, intensely green, oozing chlorophyll and wonderful with just oil and salt (and sometimes a bit more). I get nettles whenever I can, and the tender tops of fava beans have been a revelation. I’ve grown favas, and I wish I knew you could eat the tops when they were taking over the garden.
My own garden provides sorrel, an astringent herb with a lemony tang. Soup seems to be what most recipe sources make from it, but I like adding it to salads, salsa verde and anything with fish. Last week I combined some with a couple of other early season vegetables for my never-ending parade of fritters.
Sorrel, Nettle, Fava, and Spring Onion Fritters
Start by carefully (tongs or gloves) dropping a bunch of stinging nettles (bunch loosely defined as a clump about the size of cantaloupe) into boiling water. After a minute or so, fish them out and let them cool and drain (save the water for soup or nettle tea). Chop finely.
Dice a spring onion finely; do the same with about as much fresh sorrel as you have cooked nettle (maybe a well-packed cup or so). Ditto the fava leaves and flowers. Combine the vegetables with a couple of eggs, bit of salt, maybe a quarter cup of grated Parmigiano, and enough breadcrumbs to give the mix some body without drying it out too much (roughly half cup, but test the mix to make sure it holds together). Adding a healthy scoop of fresh ricotta, maybe adjusting the bread crumbs up as well, makes these even better.
Use a pair of soup spoons to form walnut size fritters, slide them in enough hot extra virgin olive oil to cover the bottom of a heavy skillet, gently flatten, and cook until browned on both sides. Sprinkle flor de sal over the cooked fritters and eat immediately.