Tuesday, August 7, 2012

My new Fava-rite Bean . . . Summer food . . .

 Enamoured of the fava beans I've eaten in restaurants, I've never been able to find them in the local supermarkets and have been resigning myself to growing our own. Then a couple of Fridays ago, I found a trove of them at our local Farmer's Market. I brought a bag home and tried this recipe which promised to obviate the tedium of shelling the beans. The recipe was easy and yummy, but a bit heavy on the fibre content . . .

So when I picked up a bag this week, I decided to embrace the whole process. First, the beans need to be released from their pods -- I used a paring knife on some of them, but others just required the seam to be unzipped by pulling the string that once attached pod to plant.

A pound and a half of green pods took ten or so minutes to shell and yielded almost two cups of beans. Such a tender green, no?

 I blanced the beans in heavily salted, boiling water for three minutes, then plunged them into ice water to stop any more cooking. Below, they're cooled and waiting for the next stage in which each bean has its fibrous coat removed. I took this task outside and relaxed into it. . . .

 And here is the finished product, perhaps thirty minutes after I began, the husked-off coats on the right, the resplendently green beans on the left.

 This is not fast food! But I tipped these nuggets into a pan sizzling with a tablespoon of butter, a teaspoon of olive oil, and two minced garlic cloves and sautéed them for six or seven minutes. We enjoyed them as a starter with a glass of Gewurtz (there may be better wine matches, but we had an opened bottle in the fridge).
They would have been great in a pasta, perhaps with parmesan and maybe some prosciutto. And I've been looking at some Middle Eastern and North African recipes as those cuisines make good use of the fava bean.

What about you? Have you cooked with, or eaten, fava beans? How were they prepared?
And I'd also love to hear about your adventures with slowed-down cuisine. . . or simple experiences with one or two ingredients, embracing rather than groaning over the preparatory work. . .


  1. I have never eaten a fava bean or even seen one in a store. Every time I hear of one I think of the movie Silence of the Lambs.
    I'll be interested to see what you create using them.

    1. Funny, Debbi -- the recipe I found online & used (basically, as described above, sautée-ing in garlic and olive oil/butter) joked about serving with liver and a nice Chianti -- clearly referencing that movie/book. Enough to put one off fava beans, really.

  2. Mater, I have enjoyed fava beans in restaurants also. I've never cooked with them at home (or even thought to try) but your post has me inspired! May I share that I found your blog on accident researching online for a vacation and now I check in every week to see your posts as I love your style, views and posts meant for pondering! Thank you for the enjoyment and please continue! Sincerely, Marysue

    1. Took me a few years of having fava beans in restaurants, to hearing foodie friends talk about cooking with them, to finally trying them myself.
      And thanks so much for taking the time to comment, Marysue -- I'm so pleased that you enjoy my blog! Did you ever take the vacation you were researching online? Where did you go?

    2. I was researching for a trip to San Francisco and Napa/Sonoma when I came across the blog Amid Privelege with a link to yours, curiosity had me follow it. And I'm glad I did. My husband and I did take the trip and loved it so, a return trip is planned for this September! Thanks for asking!

    3. Lucky you, going back to SF and Napa. We were there for the first (and, so far, only) time January 2011, and loved it. Had a few days getting spoiled in Yountville and a few days exploring SF. We'd both love to go back.

  3. Oh my, I adore fava beans! I remembered them from my childhood in Spain and started growing them in my own garden in the mid '80s and grew them until I regularly found them in local specialty markets and farmer's markets. I have often sautéed them with a little olive oil, perhaps some prosciutto, shiitake mushrooms, or garlic and shrimp. I've pureed them to serve on baguettes or as a sauce with salmon.

    They are not fast food, but they are well worth the effort expended in preparation.


I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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