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Do Me A Fava

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

So, for the first time ever, I came across fresh fava beans at a local market. Naturally I grabbed a bunch.

 

Got home and started going through my cookbooks and recipe cards, and guess what. Virtually every recipe I have calls for dried favas.

 

So, what do I do with the fresh ones?

 

Help!!!

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #2 of 20

   Hi KYH,

 

  I, just recently, cooked with fava beans for the first time.  I don't have the recipe in front of me, but I made a fava bean puree (using pureed fava beans, olive oil, little garlic, grated cheese, a little basil...seasoned it and served over pasta.  It was good.

 

   Having never cooked with fava beans before I was a little surprised to find that you need to shell the beans from the pod, then blanch and remove them from the skin placing them in an ice bath.

 

    I've also heard of people shelling them, blanching them and then placing them in a bowl at the table and letting everyone pop the little guys out of the skin into their mouths.

 

   They're good.

 

    Fava Bean, La Cucina Italiana

 

 

   dan

post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 

One of the reason you don't see them a lot on menus is because they're so labor-intensive, Dan. If you think the fresh ones are rough, wait until you try skinning the dry ones.

 

To me it's worth the work, though, as no other bean has quite their taste.

 

I wound up going with a recipe from Gerald Hirigoyen's wonderful little book, Pintxos:

 

Fava Beans with Creme Fraiche and Mint

 

2 lbs fava beans in the pod

1/2 cup creme fraiche

2 tbls extra virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup mint leaf chiffonad

Finely grated zest of 1 lemon.

 

To prepare the favas, split open the pods and remove the beans. Meanwhile, bring a saucepan filled with salted water to a boil over high heat. Place a bowl filled with ice water near your stove top. Drop the beans into the boiling water and cook for 3 minutes (this is longer than most recipes instruct because the beans are not cooked again). Drain the beans and immediately plunge them into the ice water. With your fingernail, pierce the skin of each bean near one end and squeeze the bean gently to pop free of the skin. Don't worry if the beans separate into halves. You should have about 2 cups beans.

 

In a bowl, whisk together the creme fraiche, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Add the fava beans, mint leaves, and lemon zest and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours before serving to chill and allow the flavors to meld.

 

Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper before serving. Serve chilled.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #4 of 20

Here's another thing to try, KYHeirloomer. Wash the pods, steam them in the pods for about 5 minutes over very high heat, and let cool. At this point they're basically as cooked as they need to be, which isn't much. Now salt them generously and grill them, turning often, until the pods are on the verge of scorching and begin to burst open. Let them cool just enough to handle, and serve just like this: you can eat them with the skins (not the pods, of course) on this way, if they're young, but otherwise you'll need to peel them at the table. Serve with more salt and maybe some lemon.

post #5 of 20

Romans celebrate spring with fresh (raw) fava beans (sold on roadside stands on the roads leading out to the country) and pecorino cheese.  It's that kind of "poor food" that people keep in their hearts. 

My opinion, you hadda be there. 

Not having grown up with them, i fail to see the appeal.  I don't like them, personally, but many go wild about them. 

My mother-in-law used to make soup with them, but she would shell each single bean after taking out of the pods.  I'll say labor intensive!  The soup would have a base with garlic and stuff sauteed in olive oil, then favas, boiled up.  I don;t remember if some were pureed. 

Served on heavy crusty bread toasted and rubbed with garlic and oil (well, tell me what DOESN'T taste better on bread rubbed with garlic and oil!)

 

Depending on your ethnic origins you should beware.  Even being in the room with the beans can cause serious health problems, and even death if you don;t know about the condition.  It's called favismo, and is not really an allergy so much as an auto-immune disease VERY prevalent in sardinia, but looking on internet i saw that it is also fairly common in other parts of the mediterranean (Po delta in italy, southern italy) parts of Africa and Southeast Asia as well.   It's a form of anemia where the red blood cells self-destruct, and is very serious.  Apparently having favismo protects you against some of the more virulent forms of malaria, so through natural selection, people in areas where this malaria was prevalent were at an advantage over others without it, and more of them survived over the centuries. 

 

All stores here have to have signs if there are fava beans in the store because even being in the same space with the beans can be very dangerous.  Open air markets have to have the signs too.  I know people that have it.  They can't drive by fava bean farms either.  It's very serious, so you might want to find out first if you have roots in any part of the world where favism is present.

 

I don;t want to be alarmist - most italians eat them all the time, but if you have the condition, it's extremely dangerous. 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #6 of 20

Fava beans are one of my Mother's favorite dishes, however we weren't allowed to eat them.  I don't know if it has anything to do with what siduri says but I remember my folks saying that kids shouldn't eat fava beans, especially if they drink milk.  I thought it was some old wives tale but I never ate them and still don't.

 

My Mom however loves them and prepares them with artichokes, lemon and herbs.  Shall I ask for the recipe for you?

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #7 of 20
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the offer, KK. I've got recipes for favas and artichokes. But you need a second mortgage, around here, to afford 'chokes, so I avoid them.

 

Seriously, we're talking $2.50 each---for something you throw most of away. Even the canned ones are expensive.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #8 of 20

You can grow them, you know. Big, UGLY plants, but kinda cool in their way.

post #9 of 20
Thread Starter 

As with English peas, Chris, growing them down here is problematical, because they like cooler weather. We typically have about 36 hours of spring, and then it's high summer.

 

About one year in three conditions are right for them.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #10 of 20

Oh. Yuck. Remind me not to visit.

 

EDIT: I'm reminded of a remark by Michael Flanders, English comedian quite some years back, talking about the dreaded English weather. "Still, it was nice yesterday, wasn't it? Spring. I enjoyed that. Missed it last year -- I was in the bathroom."

post #11 of 20
Thread Starter 

Whatever happened to Mike Flanders? Along with his partner, two of the best satiric comics of all time.

 

Oh. Yuck. Remind me not to visit.

 

There are all sorts of things that make up for it, Chris. I lived, for instance, three years in Boston and ten near Chicago, and don't miss winter one little bit. Just before moving here, more than two decades ago, I stopped in to L.L. Bean and bought a pair of Maine Warden's pants. I'd always wanted a set. Alas, I've never had them on---it never gets cold enough.

 

You remember Sammy Davis Jr's great line in Golden Boy? "If you think I won't remember 127th street," he said, "you're wrong. I won't remember it every chance I get." That's how I feel about Boston winters.

 

Without even thinking about season extenders I've got a 9 month growing season; year round if I use extenders and greenhouses. So, while I miss my English peas, I've always got something freshly harvested on the table.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #12 of 20

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by KYHeirloomer View Post

Whatever happened to Mike Flanders? Along with his partner, two of the best satiric comics of all time.

 

Oh. Yuck. Remind me not to visit.

 

There are all sorts of things that make up for it, Chris. I lived, for instance, three years in Boston and ten near Chicago, and don't miss winter one little bit. Just before moving here, more than two decades ago, I stopped in to L.L. Bean and bought a pair of Maine Warden's pants. I'd always wanted a set. Alas, I've never had them on---it never gets cold enough.

 

You remember Sammy Davis Jr's great line in Golden Boy? "If you think I won't remember 127th street," he said, "you're wrong. I won't remember it every chance I get." That's how I feel about Boston winters.

 

Without even thinking about season extenders I've got a 9 month growing season; year round if I use extenders and greenhouses. So, while I miss my English peas, I've always got something freshly harvested on the table.


Flanders died in 1975, I'm afraid. Donald Swann died around 1995, I believe.

 

I'm still not moving to Kentucky.

post #13 of 20

Dumb question ....Are Fava beans what we may call "Broad Beans" here?  Can't get them fresh at all.  By Broad beans I mean the big green beans roughly about the size of  a thumbnail, which you need to blanch, pop out of their skins, then continue with whatever you are doing with them.

 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #14 of 20

In France, fava beans are associated with savory the same way in Italy tomatoes are associated with basil. You can cook the fava beans (after shelling and peeling) in simmering water with literally the same amount of savory - yes, that's a lot of savory.

 

Then mix with a little creme fraiche, salt and pepper, or sautee in a little butter.

 

One of my favorite use for fava beans is couscous. Just drop them in the broth along with the other veggies. Some like them "al dente", others prefer them well cooked (about 20mn). They do develop a unique flavor when you cook them well, which I personally like.

post #15 of 20
Thread Starter 

Yes, DC, broad beans and favas are the same. Also called "Windsor beans" because that's the most popular variety of them. As mentioned, this is the first time I've been able to get them fresh; I usually get them dried, like other beans.

 

French Fries: Surely you're not talking about cooking fresh favas for 20 minutes? Following Gerald Hirigoyen's recipe I boiled them for three minutes then shocked in ice water. They came out perfectly tender. I'd be afraid they'd turn to mush after 20 minutes.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #16 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by KYHeirloomer View Post
French Fries: Surely you're not talking about cooking fresh favas for 20 minutes? Following Gerald Hirigoyen's recipe I boiled them for three minutes then shocked in ice water. They came out perfectly tender. I'd be afraid they'd turn to mush after 20 minutes.


Yes, I am. And no, they won't turn to mush, unless you boil the s&*( out of them obviously. They will become softer however.

 

It's a matter of taste. Typically, French and Italian people like vegetables cooked through, whereas Americans like them "al dente". Personally I like the flavor of the French cooked vegetables, although I do like the bite and texture of the American barely-cooked veggies; but what they gain in texture they lack in flavor.

 

Now fava beans, Morrocans like them even more cooked than any French would dare to. That's how I learned: fava beans cooked thoroughly (for about 20mn), in couscous. They develop a flavor you won't get if you boil them 3-4mn.

 

FWIW I also like to eat fava beans raw, with a little butter and a little salt. Completely different flavor profile.

 

If you have the time and the desire, try the different stages of cooking and see if you like one better than another.

post #17 of 20
Thread Starter 

Well, it won't be a question of time or desire but availability. Like I said, this is the only time I've seen them sold fresh, and they might or might not be still available.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #18 of 20

Thanks KYH - thought that was the case.

 

Fava beans always remind me of "Silence of the Lambs"..... and don't forget the Chianti

 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #19 of 20

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post #20 of 20
Thread Starter 

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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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