Chances are you have walked right by these overblown pea-like pods, especially if they have begun to take on their brown spots of age, but inside these pods lie tender, vibrant green beans, that when prepared most simply taste like the green of spring – Bijouxs fava time.
Fava beans, also known as broad beans, may not be automatic love at first site, but they are a tremendously delicious and versatile way to savor the miracle of spring.
Anything vegetable housed within a pod is bound to require a bit of work, however fava beans are simple and easy to work with once you know how. My first brush with favas ended in a “trash can” recipe, mostly due to my “I don’t read directions I just jump in” nature, which resulted in the soft white inner shell of the fava not being removed prior to cooking; very similar to my first early cooking adventure with a turkey where I cooked the turkey with the “bag of stuff” still inside the cavity. Cooking is fraught with mishaps; it’s all part of the adventure.
Fava beans are simple. Split open the outer pods and remove the individual beans. Blanch the beans in a pot of boiling water for about 30 seconds, drain and when cool peel off the thin white shell of each bean. To prepare the beans for this simple salad, place the shelled bean in a pot of boiling lightly salted water for 2-5 minutes, just until the beans are tender. Small young beans, take very little time to cook. Drain the beans and cool to room temperature.
This minimalist salad, the beautiful plated photograph by Bill Livington, favors stellar ingredients to enhance the fresh quality of the fava beans. Here your Bijouxs pantry serves you well, your best olive oil, chunk Parmigiano Reggiano, freshly cracked pepper, and a mild finishing salt like Maldon are always at hand.
As your attraction to fava beans grows, other dishes that feature fava beans such as my favorites, Vignole, the fresh spring stew served in Rome (I want to bring this Bijouxs to you soon) or a lovely fava bean puree with garlic from Sunday Suppers at Lucques and Bijouxs Bites No. 7 Ful (using canned fava beans, also called ful medames) will begin to catch your eye and in time you too will mark the calendar in late spring – Fava Time.