I always thought of fava beans as a spring thing, but for some reason they've been popping up at our farmers' markets the past few weekends. Weird. Anyway, Kevin loves fava beans. And I am his slave, so I cook up whatever he chooses at the farmers' market. Kidding. Kind of. Don't get me started about the time he bought 10 lbs of cauliflower.
We both like the ritual of prepping the fava beans together. It's kind of meditative, and a fun little task to do together. If you haven't cooked with fava beans before, there are a few steps. The fava beans are enclosed in not only a pod, but each one is also robed in a thin layer of shell that needs to be removed.
These are multi-layered, complex creatures
The shell needs to be removed also
In order to remove the thin shell, you have to: (1) remove beans (which are still in shells, obviously) from their pods; (2) boil beans for 60-90 seconds; (3) drain beans and put in cold water bath to stop cooking; (4) drain; and (5) peel off the shell.
Re: step #5: Someone taught me that the easiest way to peel off the shell was to make a little tear at the "bottom" of the bean--NOT the end where it was attached to the pod, which seems like the intuitive thing to do. Be all counter-intuitive and pinch a little hole in the bottom, and gently squeeze the opposite end until the naked, bright green bean pops out. I didn't take pictures of this process, but this person did:
See how someone created a whole at the "bottom", instead of where the little green cap is at the top, where it originally connected to the pod? I am beleaguering the point.
Remember those fava beans we purchased? I decided to make fava bean crostini with our precious bounty. Here are the ingredients:
- 1 cup shelled fresh fava beans (1 1/4 pounds in pods)
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus additional for drizzling
- 1 1/2 cups packed baby arugula (1 1/2 ounces), divided
- 3 tablespoons grated Pecorino Toscano or Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 baguette
- 1 garlic clove, halved crosswise
- 16 mint leaves
Note: I only had a few leaves of arugula, and COMPLETELY did not see the mint part. Oops. I bet that would have been good, but oh well.
Place the cooked, deshelled beans in a food processor.
Pulse until coarsely chopped, and then remove half of chopped beans. To the remaining half of chopped beans in the food processor, add the rest of the ingredients. (Note below my few measly arugula leaves and complete absence of mint leaves.)
Take processed mixture and fold into the chopped beans you had set aside earlier.
The recipe says to toast baguette slices and rub with olive oil and garlic, but we had just gotten this nutty glorious brown bread from Cayuga Pure Organics at the farmers' market so we used that instead. I'm sure the flavor of the bean puree would have come through more clearly on plain baguette slices, but c'est la vie it was still yummy.
Ta-da! Satisfying little snack.