I have always been interested in learning more about the fava bean. Ok, I know you guys are all rolling your eye. Stop it. Beans can be exciting! Especially after you eat them. No really, I love me a good bean or legume. Garbanzo, kidney, cannellini, green, yellow, canned, French-style and the list goes on and on. Did you just say bean are boring? I think you might have a change of heart my friend after I tell you about the ways of the fava.
When I go to the farmer’s market, I always look for new things. Sure, I buy my tomatoes, cucumbers and carrots, but I also look for fruits and vegetables that are out of the ordinary. Living in a smaller community there isn’t a lot of new or exotic produce available, so when something new happens to show up, I pounce on it. Fava beans are rare find for two reasons. One, they have a very short growing season and two, is the smaller community thing. So, the last time I went to the farmer’s market, I snagged some. Let me tell you, I must of looked particularly kitchen savvy that day, because the gentleman in the stall gave me way more than what I paid for. Fava beans are a little on the more expensive side, so they are a treat.
We (the children and I) finished our shopping and headed home. I immediately set to work peeling the beans from their large, soft homes. Gabe and I made short work of a big job and in no time, we were on to step two. The fava bean has a thick, white membrane around it. In order to remove the membrane, the beans have be to boiled for just a few minutes to soften them. Once the beans have boiled a few minutes, remove them from the heat and drain. Let the beans cool until you can handle them. Remove the white pod by pinching the end of the bean and squeezing. What started as a great big bag of beans has now been reduced to a small bowl of green beans.
Now you that you have tackled all of the hard work, your possibilities are endless. Eat them with butter, put them into a soup, make a topping to spoon over toasted baguettes (super delish) or make a spread. If you would like to do the latter, by all means, continue reading! I hope you guys give these beans a try. I know they look like a lot of work, but they are totally worth it. Just remember they are harvested in late spring and if you don’t see them at your farmer’s market, just ask!!!!!! The more the farmers hear about what’s becoming popular the more they will experiment with their crops.
Please read more for my fava bean spread………….
Fava Bean Spread
2 pounds shelled fava beans
1 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cup bread crumbs
a handful chopped fresh basil, mint and oregano
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice and zest of the lemon
Ok, so I made this recipe up. I threw ingredients in the food processor and whizzed it together. When I finally got the flavor I was looking for it was done! You can make this spread as thick or as thin as you want too. Just add a little more lemon juice and olive oil. It might be good with some crushed red pepper flakes as well. The fresh herbs are a must. Do not substitute dried. Enjoy!