A few weeks ago I was talking with the vendors at one of my favorite stands at the farmers’ market-a Sicilian man and his wife. I love their stand as it’s very unassuming-a card table covered with little baskets containing their produce. I’ve been buying from them for a long time. They really are a cute couple-she works the stand and takes the money while he replenishes the veggies from the back of their truck. I love listening to their banter-she tells him what to do and he makes a comment about it!
On this particular morning I was telling them I did indeed make a pesto with their gorgeous fennel fronds (as they had recommended). I told them how we ate it with pasta and how next time I would use it with a pork roast. Just then the husband perked up and said “let her try my fritella” and the wife gave him a look that I took to mean “stay out of this”. He then proceeded to ignore her and came over with a bowl full of cooked vegetables which he called “fritella” and asked if I’d like a taste. Even though it was barely 8 am, I was more than happy to try his dish.
“Fritella” is a Sicilian dish that is made in the spring and it’s sort of a stew of fresh fava beans, peas and artichokes, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil. One bite and I was a fan. I knew I would be making this dish, despite the tedious work of shelling the favas and peas and cleaning the artichokes. You don’t really need a recipe for this. I cooked the cleaned baby artichokes in a covered pot with a little bit of water and then added the beans and peas. I must admit that I probably didn’t cook my veggies as long as they did. Mine were definitely cooked, but were still green. When they were all cooked, I seasoned with salt and pepper and drizzled with olive oil. Done. Delicious.