Thursday, July 16, 2015

Fava Bean Salad

The kitchen feels like one big sauna. A hint of a breeze does not give an ounce of relief. Through this heat wave, I decide to boil and peel favas. A most tiresome task in my prep book, but the most delicious bean in my culinary repertoire. Verdantly green, any recipe involving favas excites me, entices me. Big fat pods yield Lima-like beans. And just like the Russian dolls, a short boil reveals the heart, a tender green kidney-shaped kernel. I do say it is a tiresome task, but the result is oh so rewarding. 

Fresh favas are found in Middle Eastern stores, some Spanish ones and gourmet grocery stores. They look like overgrown green beans. The thick, leathery pods are shucked. The beans are then boiled for a few minutes. The bigger the bean, the longer the boil, is my rule of thumb. Shocked in ice-cold water, they retain their green color. The peel slips off and you are left with a tender, pistachio colored bean in your hand. Bathed in fruity olive oil, lemon zest and fresh herbs, these beans evoke all things Mediterranean. 

Spring and summer finds me combing markets for favas. Other months, I buy not so nice frozen ones. Then I find frozen beans at Trader Joes and that makes me do a happy dance. These look and taste like fresh ones! And I have one less step to more peeling pods! Instructions on the packaging tell you to boil and eat. But I do not care for the tough outer covering, so it is still boil and peel for me. 

Makes 2 generous portions 

1 pound fresh Fava Beans or 1 10 oz package frozen Fava Beans
2-3 tablespoons extra virgin Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Lemon zest
2 tablespoons Tarragon
4 tablespoons Italian Parsley 
1 teaspoon Thyme leaves
1/2 + 1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked Black Pepper 

If you are using fresh favas, start by shucking the pods to get to the beans. If you use frozen ones follow the next step.

Put 3-4 cups water in a saucepan and bring to a rolling boil. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Drop favas into boiling water and cook for 2-3 minutes. If the favas are large, cook for a minute more.

Drain and drop favas into a bowl of ice water.

Let favas sit in ice water till cool. Drain.

Peel the tough outer skin. 

Place favas in a bowl.

Chop tarragon, parsley and thyme fine and add to favas.

Drizzle olive oil, lemon zest, salt and pepper, stir to mix and let flavors meld for 15 minutes or until ready to serve.

Favas are the greens to steak and potatoes today. That vivid color so pleases my eyes as I fork some. The beans have a peppery, buttery flavor. California olive oil, herbs from my garden and lemon zest lets me savor each mouthful. My advise to you.... scour markets, frozen food aisles... find them. Or green with envy!