Sunday, July 11, 2010

Heavenly Fava

Fava beans, also called broad beans, are the Arnold Schwarzenegger of beans. They are huge! The first time my husband grew them, I wasn't impressed, but I have since come to adore the heavenly fava.

The key is to pick them young and tender. What seems like an enormous pile in the pod will yield a relatively small quantity of beans.

The beans look so cute nestled in the pod -like little baby beans!

Young and tender like this, they are delicious. If older, you will want to slip them out of their skins as they become bitter later in their season. This is a time consuming task, slitting each individual skin and popping the bean out, so harvesting early is my goal.

A small quantity of bean is filling -two quarts of shelled beans is enough for three or four meals. I blanch them in boiling water for three or four minutes, cool quickly in cold water, and package for freezing.

The simplest way to cook them, fresh or frozen, is to heat 2-4 T. olive oil, add 2-4 minced garlic cloves. When garlic begins to brown, add 2 c. fava beans and cook until tender. Often I add 3-4 minced anchovy fillets with the fava beans. The anchovies here do not 'taste fishy' but really make this delicious. This makes a tasty vegetable side dish or for a complete meal I make:

Fava Beans, Orzo and Quail Eggs
Hard boil, cool and peel 8 quail eggs, if you can get them, 4 chicken eggs if not. Cook 8 oz. orzo pasta, or any other pasta shape, al dente and drain. Toss all with fava beans -cooked as above just till tender with olive oil, garlic and anchovies. Serve with black pepper and parmesan -and salt if you didn't use the anchovies, though I seriously suggest you do.

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