Friday, July 9, 2010
I was talking to my friend Lisa about them so, for a special Friday edition of food blogging, let's talk fava beans.
They are beautiful plants with such a lovely white and black flower that they look more like and garden annual than a vegetable. (I'm thinking about planting some in with the peonies next year.) Plus, they fix nitrogen in your soil better than any cover crop or any other bean. (I'm still unclear on what "fixing nitrogen" means, but I know it's a really good thing).
And they're delicious! Not quite as sweet as peas, not as grainy as Lima beans (I love Lima beans. More on them when they come in later in the summer.)
The only downsides to favas are that the season is fairly short and that the little buggers are a bit of a pain. To cook them you first have to shuck them (just like peas), then blanch them for a minute, and then peel the waxy skin off of each individual bean before you cook them! But I promise they're worth it!
You can shuck and blanch your favas the day you pick (or buy) them and then peel and cook them a day or two later. This will keep them from getting starchy too- the sooner you cook them after they are picked the less starchy they'll be! (I read somewhere it's best to blanch your beans and peas within 4 hours of picking them- which really stressed me out.)
We've had quite a bumper crop of favas this year so I've been cooking them a lot! They are delicious just sauteed with some chopped shallots and topped with some parmesean cheese and I really liked a recipe for favas and fennel (also homegrown) that I found on epicurious, but my absolute favorite thing I've made with them so far is fava bean puree.
On grilled garlic toasts it's good all by itself, with some kalamata olives, feta and parsley or with some shaved pecorino and some lemon. I've also been known to just eat it with a spoon.
2 1/2 pounds fava beans in the pod, shucked, blanched and peeled (about 2 cups peeled beans)
3/4 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic minced
1 sprig rosemary
1 chili de arbol
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Heat the olive oil in a large sauce pan over low heat for a minute or so, add the rosemary and the chili and cook for a minute or so more. Add the garlic and cook for a minute longer, being careful not to brown it.
Add the favas, a pinch of salt and a little black pepper. Cook the beans for 5 to 7 minutes until tender (the fresher the beans the less long they need to be cooked).
Strain the beans, reserving the oil, and remove the chili and rosemary. Puree the beans in a food processor and with the motor running add enough of the reserved to make it smooth. Add the lemon juice and a little more of the oil to taste.
Top with a mixture of feta, parsley, olives and a little lemon juice- or not- and serve. Yum, yum, yum!