Chanan Kamen, executive chef at Osteria Coppa in San Mateo takes a drive into the city each Saturday to pick up ingredients from some of his favorite farmers at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. His regular stops include Knoll Farms, Star Route Farm and County Line Harvest. When he leaves the market his car is usually packed to the brim and this week was no exception. Chanan was on his second lap around the market when I caught up with him to chat about his favorite spring vegetable — fava beans — and some other items he had his eye on.
“Every year I really look forward to fava beans,” Chanan told me. “They’re a lot of work but it’s worth it because they are that good.” The fava beans at the market right now are just starting to mature and Chanan says that while they are still young and tender he will be using them in a simple spring salad that includes English peas, mint and sheeps milk feta. As the favas get larger he will puree them to use as a filling for his house-made tortellini with lobster sauce. Chanan told me, “Favas are really great with salty cheeses, like a young pecorino, smoked trout (or really any fish), and fruity olive oils.”
Chanan finished his shopping and loaded up his car with cases of favas, peas, strawberries, pepper cress, dandelion greens, broccoli di cicco and fig leaves. The fig leaves — ordered specially from Knoll Farms— were to be wrapped around Alaskan halibut and baked. “It really perfumes the fish, gives it a good flavor, and makes the whole kitchen smell great,” he told me.
His last stop before heading back to the restaurant? “I still have to pick up some stuff from the Alemany market too. I’m not sure how I’m going to fit it all in. I might need to start attaching a trailer to the back of my car.”