30 July 2006

Fun with Favas

Posted in food at 8:44 am by Tricia

We’ve been getting fava beans for the last few weeks, and they’re quite an intriguing ‘fleeting seasonal treat’. Fava beans require a little extra effort – first you shell them, then you blanch the beans in boiling water (2 to 5 minutes, depending on how firm you want the beans). After draining and cooling the beans, you slip the edible part out of a tough ‘shell’. The remaining bean/seed is ready for use in various recipes. They have quite a unique taste and texture and are worth the extra work.

We’ve made the first recipe below three times now, and prefer it with leeks over onions. I haven’t had parsley or cilantro, but made it once with basil. Below is the recipe as it appeared in our CSA newsletter, which is slightly different from the source they attribute it to. This is good with middle eastern or italian-influenced meals. Any oily residue from the salad should be sopped up with a good crusty bread.

(from Capay Organic Farm CSA “Farm Fresh To You” website)

1 lb. fava beans, shelled
2 onions or leeks, finely sliced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt and pinch of pepper
1 Tbsp. parsley or cilantro

Boil the shelled beans in slightly salted water until tender (2 to 4 minutes). Drain and cool, then slip out of their shells. Blend oil and vinegar together with salt and pepper. Stir in onion and garlic. Place Favas in serving dish and pour oil and vinegar dressing over them. Sprinkle with chopped herbs.

The next recipe is based on one in James Peterson’s Vegetables (p 129). This was one of the first times I’ve used fennel, and the fennel bulb I got at the market was kind of small, so I’m not sure I prepared it properly. I also didn’t have any parsley (again). I didn’t like this salad as much as the previous one, but I might try it again some day with a larger fennel bulb (and parsley!).Favas, Fennel, and Lemon Salad

1 cup fava beans
1 shallot, minced (I substituted scallion)
juice of small lemon
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 small fennel bulb
3 Tab finely chopped fresh parsley or basic
salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a bowl, combine the beans with the shallots, lemon juice, and olive oil. Cut the branches and fronds off the fennel. Peel the stringy outermost membrane off the fennel bulb with a vegetable peeler and slice the bulb crosswise into paper-thin slices with a vegetable slicer, then add the slices to the beans.

Chop the parsley – it’s important to chop the parsley just before serving so it doesn’t lose flavor – and add it to the beans and fennel. Season to taste with salt and pepper while tossing gently. Serve at room temperature.


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