Fresh fava beans are in season. Yipee. I love the way they look and their slightly crunchy texture and fresh like spring taste. They don’t stay in season for long, so buy them now. Freeze them shelled for future use.
Although not many in North America are familiar with the fresh variety, they are a staple of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine. You might recognize them as broad beans. Rather a tasty treat in in dips, salads, soups, and pasta. Again your imagination is the only thing that might limit their use.
There is a BUT here… they do require a little extra effort. You need to shell them. I am a lover of chopping and cutting and yes I find shelling fresh favas therapeutic. I made them last year when I had an evening alone to myself…I decided to take on the peeling project. It’s really not a difficult thing to do for one or two servings. It can even be a fun group activity at a party! It’s not hard, just requires a bit of time and motivation.
Shelling Fresh Favas
Buy the ones that look thick with beans and a bit older. Two pounds unshelled beans yield about 1 cup shelled.
Remove beans from their pods.
Cook shelled beans in boiling water for 1 minute. Drain, then shock beans in ice water. Remove from the water.
Peel off the tough outer skins.
Now that you have the prep mastered. Here’s an awesome simple recipe that I threw together last year…with rave reviews on the photo and taste.
Warm Fava Bean Salad with Parmesan and Fresh Black Pepper 1 serving – multiply for more people
Warm fava bean salad…striking red white and green…Savoury and deeelicious)
1 tablespoon extra Virgin Olive Oil (you can use less if you are watching your fat intake) ½ small onion, chopped ½ cup shelled fava beans ½ red bell pepper, large dice 1 to 2 baby bok choy, large dice (you can use about a cup of full grown bok choy) 1 tablespoon fresh herbs, like thyme, oregano, and a little rosemary (you can use 1 teaspoon of a dried Italian Spice Blend) Freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese, fine ( as much as you would like) Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste
In a small non-stick sauté pan, heat a good quality extra virgin olive oil and then cook onions until soft and starting to caramelize.
Add the fava beans and cook on medium heat until just turning a nice brighter green.
Add the red bell pepper and bok choy to heat through for a few more minutes, until the leaves are wilted. Sprinkle with herbs.
Take off heat. Plate and top with shaved Parmesan and freshly ground black pepper.