Thursday, June 28, 2012

Flavorful Fava Beans

When my friend, Rose and I hit the farmer’s market this past week, we discovered a vendor with a large basket of fava beans. Also known as broad beans, you see them in the spring usually as a garnish on fresh salads. Most of the shoppers we observed shied away from the large pods. I suspect this is because either they did not know how to get the bean from the pod or they did not know how to cook them. Undaunted, I stuffed my plastic bag with a couple of handfuls of bean pods and off we went.

And then a funny thing happened. After we got the beans home, and I offer to give them a try, Rose finds a link to a grilled fava bean post on the Food 52 website.

You know what comes next – a fava bean showdown! Rose followed the grilled recipe and I made them for a fresh salad.

First, you slice a slit down the seam of the pod and pry it open with your fingers. 

Remove the beans from the pods and plunge them into boiling salted water for about 3 minutes. 

The outer shells will open to reveal the bright green fava bean inside. 

Remove the outer shell and the beans are ready to use in a colorful salad like this one!

Although you might think that the fava bean is similar to a lima bean, you will be surprised to taste the clean, crisp flavor. Use the beans in a fresh salad or sauté them quickly to add as a garnish for any dish. I say garnish because you need about a pound of fava bean pods to produce about 1/3 cup of fava beans!

Rose’s grilled beans uses a flavorful marinade to season the entire pod. Grill the pods and return them to the bowl with the marinade. Add chopped anchovies and toss to create an entirely edible fava bean pod with the tender beans a surprise inside.

Let me know how you like your fava beans – grilled or blanched!

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