Friday, July 3, 2009

Fridays with Fava Beans

It is SO HOT in my house. Just thought I'd share.

In other news, two big bags of fava beans have been sitting patiently in my crisper drawer (where I wish I could be right now), waiting for me to get around to the inevitable endeavor of prepping them. If you don't know anything about favas, also known as broad beans or windsor beans, they are getting to be pretty common around farmers markets in the Spring, and can even be found popping up in supermarkets and international food stores. They require a bit of work - they come in big, leathery pods while felt-like interior walls, and need to be blanched and squeezed out of their waxy shells before eating - but they are really delicious. I think they taste a lot like edamame, and a bit like lima beans.

I woke up this morning knowing today was the day - I put on some music, pulled out the beans, and got to work. I was reading Bon Appetit's August issue yesterday and there was this ad for a cushy gel-like mat for you kitchen floor, to help your back and feet when you're standing in the kitchen for long periods of time. This morning would have been a great time to try it out. After wrestling all of the beans from their tough pods, I was a bit discouraged to see the relative sizes of my piles - I started with about four pounds of whole pods and was left with about two cups of beans, the rest being compost-worthy scraps of pods and strings. I threw the beans into boiling water for two minutes before draining and setting them into an ice bath. Then, round two, I set about squeezing the individual beans from their coatings. It sounds like a lot of work, but it's not too bad, and the time went quickly as my roommates and I were debating the correct onomatopoeia for fava beans coming out of their coatings. At first, I was going with SPLORT! but after a round of careful listening, we settled on PFTTH!

At this point, the beans are completely melt-in-your-mouth delicious, and ready for purees spread on crusty bread, soups, salads... I've even seen fava bean baked goods floating around the blogosphere. I have to use up my CSA bounty before I pick up another box tomorrow, so I made a big bowl of Spring Vegetable salad, with freshly-hulled, blanched sweat peas, radishes, cucumbers, spring onions, feta cheese, and herbs - mint and basil. I topped it off with a dressing of lemon juice (I still have a few lemons from a big bag I brought home from a visit to California), canola oil, apple cider vinegar, salt, and red pepper flakes. I also added a splash of dill pickle juice, a trick I learned from a German exchange student who lived with us years ago. I'll be bringing the dish to a pre-4th of July bash tonight, and it should go really well with whatever is on the grill. I don't have any definite plans for tomorrow night, but I'm a big fan of fireworks, so I'm sure it will be fun.

I'm off camping again next week, not sure where I'm headed just yet, but I'll be sure to be sweating. Summer has come to Oregon, and I can't wait to see what that means at the market tomorrow. More tomatoes and cucumbers, I hope!

Eat well!


  1. I've been dying to tackle fava beans. Your blog gives me enough confidence to try it! .... now I just have to convince my husband that it's a good idea, too.

  2. Hi, Oakley! Warn the Italians about fava beans: I heard they may be allergic to them...but maybe that is a myth.
    Love you. Happy 4th!
    Country Rhodes