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IrishCream

Fresh fava beans

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I am growing fava beans for the first time. My cookbooks all call for peeling them but I opened a pod today and saw no obvious skin on any of the beans so just ate them as is raw. Didn't detect a skin of any kind. Should I be peeling them? Does a skin develop at a later stage? Any info would be appreciated!


Lobster.

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Gah. Yes, peel them. These must have been very young as the skin around the beans is leathery and nasty.


"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

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Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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I just saw a bag of fava seeds in the garage and realized that I forgot to plant them last fall...d'oh!

But one real advantage of growing your own is the chance to eat them young and tender, and at that stage they don't need peeling.

Open a bottle of Orvieto, slice some good pecorino, set out a little dish of coarse salt, and start eating.

Jim


olive oil + salt

Real Good Food

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But one real advantage of growing your own is the chance to eat them young and tender, and at that stage they don't need peeling.

I concur, Jim -- when favas are very young, I find the slight bitterness of the peel refreshing. They're wonderful served Roman-style: raw, with sweet onion and scamorza cheese. Older ones definitely need peeling.

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When they're young,you don't need to peel them,or even cook them sometimes.The outer shell as the beans age is nasty,and can cause lightheadedness[?]if you eat too much.A chronic condition caused be too much of this fava shell eating is called favism.Believe it or not there is a favism website,detailing this problem.

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Here in the UK mine are not even out of the ground yet!

If they are very young (pods the size of your little finger) you can eat the pods whole, like conventional beans

As they get older you can eat them without peeling the individual bean. I prefer them like that.

Old beans podded and each bean should be peeled. Easiest to do them cooked. A lot of labour and waste.

Don't forget you should stop the plants - take out the tops when they have set 6 or so beans, to prevent blackfly. The tops can be eaten as a spinach like vegetable.

The scent of broad bean flowers is one of the nicest.

Favourite ways to eat?

- Tossed with butter and parsley, or if cold EVOO and parsley

- Tossed with onion and bacon or ham

- Lightly crushed

- Soup

- Pasta


Edited by jackal10 (log)

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Favas take some time, so I usually do this sitting at the kitchen table...and if any of the boys are around, I make them help.

Use your thumbnail or a small a small paring knife to split open the pod and get the beans out. A pound of favas in the pods will give you a cup or so beans (if all the pods are full...I've learned to feel them to make sure I'm getting a full load of beans before I buy).

Drop the beans into a pot of boiling water and cook for a minute or two. Drain, rinse with cold water to cool, and slip off the tough outer shell. I use a fingernail to pinch the end open, then squeeze out the bean. If you have really young and tender favas and are planning to eat them whole, you can skip this step. But if you're making a spread I've found that even the young skins mess with the texture of the finished product.

The beans are ready to eat or add to a recipe. Here's my fava bean page with a few things I make a lot this time of year.

Jim


olive oil + salt

Real Good Food

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If very young (pods the size of you little finger) cook whole, like green beans

If young (scar where the bean attached to the pod is green, beans still small) shell, cook in boiling water 10 mins or until tender. May keep their colour better if cooked in a low magnesium water like Evian.

If older, cook as above, then skin the individual bean. The sort of pop out of the skins, but its a lot of work.

Many ways to eat.

On their own with butter and black pepper. Nicest if these are the first of the season

With bacon or with small onions.

Cold with viangrette

In a risotto.

Stewed with tripe or other offal, or a beef stew

Pureed, or

souffle....


Edited by jackal10 (log)

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I bought fresh fava beans in the shell, but I haven't the foggiest idea how to cook them.

I second Jim in re to the preparation technique. My main advice is to prepare them with minimal cooking. These are best eaten as close to raw as possible IMO.

I had a really nice dish of penne with fresh fava beans and anchovies once that I have been meaning to try at home.

Fresh fava beans are also great with penne, prosciutto, parmigiano and a drizzle of the best quality olive oil at the table. I had this at a place called L'Artevino in Montespertoli (outside Florence) using a wonderfully flavored evoo from Rocca dell Macia, which is primarily known as a winemaker. Anyway, as the oil is not sold at retail (or wasn't at that time) the proprietor was kind enough to sell us a few bottles at cost. I recommend L'Artevino to anyone who is exploring the countryside around Florence. Seats maybe 20. Reservations only. The table is yours for the night. The philosophy there seems to be starting with a firm base in the traditional cooking of the region but going on to create new modern dishes that are reflective of those roots.


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fava beans are fantastic in a good italian bread salad.


Marsha Lynch aka "zilla369"

Has anyone ever actually seen a bandit making out?

Uh-huh: just as I thought. Stereotyping.

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Urg. Fava beans. I love to eat them - hate to prepare them. I prep them pretty much the same way Jim does, but I only blanche them about 30 seconds. I find that any more than that - especially at this time of the year - the skin gets a little harder to remove and the bean itself a little overcooked for my taste.

I just did a variation of a very traditional Provencal dish - fava beans and artichokes with thyme in olive oil. It really is pretty much that. Prep your beans. I used mini artichokes and just peel the tough outer leaves, quartered them. Used some garlic, rosemary, and basil infused olive oil to cook them through until tender - be generous with the oil, added the fava beans, then quite a bit of thyme to taste.

I've also used fava beans in a crushed new potato salad. Just boiled the potatoes with skins on to tender, fork crushed, add fava beans, roasted garlic, thyme, lemon, season to taste.

Edited to add that I did also top the potato salad with crisp, julienned pancetta.


Edited by loufood (log)

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thank you for all the delicious-sounding replies!!

I didn't know about removing the shells once I'd shucked off the pods. SO glad I asked, or I might have been gnawing at the beans days later.

Jim, your fava page looks great. I'll be back to visit the other pages sometime soon.

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I like to blanch them then toss with lemon, olive oil and feta cheese, and spoon them onto crusty bread.

In one cookbook or another, Alice Waters talks about the whole restaurant staff (even waiters!) gathering in the dining room to shell favas for the night's meal.


I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Another vote for the 'crostini with favas and mint' on the Realgoodfood web site. Outstanding.

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Jim, the link to favas with pancetta and leeks is broken.  This makes my mouth cry.

I'll have to get on my web-lackey's ass...oh, wait, that's me.

As I recall, I basically cooked some pancetta, added the leeks and cooked them, then tossed in the shucked favas at the last minute. Since I still have a good-sized chunk of Niman Ranch guanciale, I'll use that instead when I find some more favas.

I thought I had a recipe on there for a dish like loufood describes (favas and artichokes...but mine doesn't have thyme...altho' I'm adding it the dish next time I make it). It's really good with the smaller 'chokes, and I've added preserved lemon sometimes, too.

Another method of eating favas is raw (remove from pod, but don't shell) with some pecorino cheese, a little salt, and white wine.

another vote for the 'crostini with favas and mint' on the Realgoodfood web site.

thanks....I've been making essentially the same recipe with peas instead of favas after tasting it at Park Kitchen, a new cafe in the Pearl District. Leave out the Parmigiano, though.

Jim


olive oil + salt

Real Good Food

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post-script: Inspired by Jim's fava-risotto recipe (but pressed for time after shucking fava beans!) I made couscous with fava beans and two mushrooms (fresh and dried). It was good!

Thanks again for the technical help. You all were right, it was a labor-intensive job, but satisfying.

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You can also toss them with evoo, parsley, lemon juice and really good tuna - season and serve as a salad...


www.nutropical.com

~Borojo~

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Michael Ruhlman writes that Thomas Keller demands that favas be shucked and then peeled completely raw. They are then cooked, in a giant pot of furiously boiling water, salted like the ocean, a handful of beans to the litre. If the water even slows a bit when the beans are thrown in, the whole thing has to be thrown away and the prep cook ritually disembowelled.


Jonathan Day

"La cuisine, c'est quand les choses ont le go�t de ce qu'elles sont."

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I have a chef friend in SF who's worked a couple of dinners presided over by Alice Waters. He told me he spent several hours picking through bushels of favas in order to have a couple of cups' worth that were exactly the same size and perfect in every respect.

While I can understand and appreciate what Robert Reynolds calls 'striving for perfection,' some times we get a little carried away. They're just beans.

Jim


olive oil + salt

Real Good Food

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In the UK its way too early. Mine are only just showing their noses above ground...its a late cold spring this year. June at least for Fava or Broad Beans

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Way to early even here in DC. There may be some Florida Favas soon, though.


I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Hmmmm....

I am making a Halibut recipe with fingerlings and meyer lemon salsa. the favas are briefly sauteed and kept warm with the smashed fingerlings in a saute pan.

Do you think the frozen shelled favas would be a total waste?

Spring recipes always have favas....too bad spring doesn't come to MA until June. :rolleyes:

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Frozen shelled will work fine, but its not the same.

Why not use something in season, or even better use, say soaked and cooked dried butter beans (which are Fava beans in their winter guise)

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