Let’s just say for the sake of argument, that all of a sudden and out of nowhere, you fell madly and completely in love. Maybe just because it is Spring, or maybe somebody made you laugh or for no reason at all. Once it’s done it’s done, and there is no rest for the weary, and no thinking about anything else.
That is what has to happen to make you want to cook. You have to be seduced by fava beans, fresh from their pod with a tiny spill of olive oil that still has the heat of newness to it, on a sliver of a creamy baguette. You have to worry that other people are going to hear your heart going if you get too close to the handmade and unpasteurized cheeses. Or the hamburgers and buns. It doesn’t matter what it is, you just have to need it, want it, and be ready to do what it takes to get it closer to you.
Stay simple. You don’t need dinner and dancing and a wardrobe to fall in love. Soft shell crabs take about five minutes. Buy two per person. Season them with a little salt, dredge in cake or all purpose flour, and then fry them in about a quarter inch of 350 degree olive oil, on both sides, for about two minutes per side. Lift them from the oil, and drain on paper towel. When they are done, drop a clove of garlic into the remaining oil, take it out, smash it into a paste, and then smush it into a stick of room temperature butter. Add a few drops of lemon juice, some finely chopped parsley, and some torn basil leaves or fresh thyme. Swirl it into the oil, off the heat, and once it has melted, spoon over the crabs.
Serve with brand new fava beans that are the first of the season, and don’t need to be cooked. Just drizzle with olive oil, lemon juice, a bit of kosher salt, and add shavings of pecorino stagionato or a good parmesan. (if the fava need a little help, after removing them from their pods, drop them into boiling salted water for a few seconds, then lift them out, and squeeze them from their skins, before dressing them with the oil and lemon.