fava beans – worth the effort!

There is no getting around it, fava beans are high maintenance! These jumbo beans, which appear in local markets every spring and look a bit like green beans on steroids, are a ton of effort to prepare, because, unlike green beans, only a tiny portion of the bean is actually edible. For example, my favorite fava bean recipe calls for 1 kilogram of beans and makes 2 side servings!

But despite the work, these beans are so tasty I find myself looking forward to them every spring.

Okay, maybe a ton of effort is an exaggeration, but there is no denying that they do take time. Here’s a quick look at the step by step prep work:

Step one: Shell the beans & discard the pods

Step two: Parboil the beans in salted boiling water for 2 minutes, then drain and plunge the beans into iced water

Step three: Remove & discard the pale green outer skin of each bean, reserving only the bright green inner bean.

Step four: Season and serve. My favorite preparation is a quick saute in marjoram and lemon juice, which I believe originally came from one of my (many) Williams Sonoma cook books. ________________________________________________________________

Easy but delicious fava bean recipe:

  • Prepare 1 kilogram of fava beans as above.
  • Heat 1 or 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat and saute 1 minced shallot with a pinch of salt for 3 to 4 minutes
  • Add the fava beans and another pinch of salt and saute for 2 more minutes
  • Add a tablespoon or so of chopped marjoram and saute for 1 additional minute
  • Remove the pan from the heat & add a generous squeeze of fresh lemon juice & some cubed feta
  • Enjoy!
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2 Responses to fava beans – worth the effort!

  1. Liz says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever tasted fava beans, but I’m dying to try them. Your recipe with the marjoram sounds wonderful~

  2. betsy says:

    I LOVE fava beans. The season is so fleeting (just in season here in Massachusetts now in July), so they are a very special treat. I just made a fava bean salad for dinner last night. At $5 / lb at the farmers market, I bought just 1 pound (in the pods). It made just enough for a large spoonful for two with dinner. I love the process of shelling them, boiling them, then peeling them. Makes them seem that much more special.

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