Now that you’ve read about how local chefs prepare favas in their restaurants, it’s your turn. Here are some recipes for preparing fava beans at home.
Basic Preparation of Fava Beans
Put a large pot of salted water on the stove and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, split the pods open and remove the beans inside. Boil beans for one minute, drain, and transfer to a bowl filled with ice water. Let chill. Using your thumb, tear open the tough outer skin of each bean and pop out the tender fava inside. As you’re doing this, be careful not to pierce or scrape the interior bean. Shelled fava beans can be sprinkled into green salads, risottos, and spring soups. They also make a wonderful garnish with fish or roasted or grilled meat.
Fava Bean Puree with Herbed Crostini
Takes approximately 2 hours (faster if you have friends to help you shell the favas)
Note: You can make the puree a day ahead of time, just be sure to bring mixture to room temperature before serving; crostini should be made fresh.
3 lbs whole, fresh fava beans in their pods
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 sprig rosemary
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced crosswise
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1 lemonfresh cracked black pepper to taste
1 slab of herb focaccia
Extra virgin olive oil to coat
Shell, par-boil, and peel the fava beans as described above.
Warm half the olive oil (one-quarter cup) in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add the fava beans, fresh herbs, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt.
Stew the beans, uncovered over a medium heat, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the beans are tender and starting to fall apart. Add more olive oil to pan as needed if the beans get dry as you’re stewing them. While beans are stewing, zest the whole lemon, then cut it in half and juice it, removing all seeds.
Once beans are tender, remove from heat. Pick out the springs of rosemary and thyme and the bay leaf. If a few little leaves of the herbs remain, that’s ok.
Place the stewed beans in the bowl of a food processor, sprinkle mixture with 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, and half the remaining olive oil (1/8 cup). Puree till smooth. Taste mixture and add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. You can also add more lemon juice and olive oil at this stage till you like the flavor.
Mound the mixture in a pretty bowl and drizzle the remaining olive oil over the top. Scatter the lemon zest over the puree as well.
For the crostini: slice the focaccia into pieces 1/3 of an inch thick, coat lightly with olive oil, and place in a single layer on one or two cookie sheets. Toast in the middle of a 350° oven for 7-10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool and serve in a basket or bowl alongside the fava bean puree.