Thursday, May 20, 2010

At Market...Fava Beans

Despite the fact that I truly believed that I hated legumes when I was a girl (influenced, perhaps, by my mother's distaste for them), eventually, I realized their goodness. And not being one to be put off by soft and mushy textures, I indulge frequently.

One bean I have rarely eaten, however, is the fava bean, or broad bean. Known for their creamy and meaty texture, most chefs consider them the true star of the legume family, and will drop everything to create a menu around these beauties, which are available for a few short weeks each spring. While fava bean recipes abound, one of the most popular things to do with them is to make a puree to be spread on toasted rounds of bread.

Because the beans are encased in a dense pod, and further wrapped in a thick skin, they need to be cooked for ease of peeling. The usual way is to boil the pods, but when I found this recipe for grilled fava beans, I knew I had to give it a go, especially if it meant one less pot to wash! Of course, grilling the beans imparts a slightly smoky flavor, which I love, but the fact that they were bathed in a mixture of olive oil, sea salt and minced garlic, makes them downright addictive...and messy.

To eat you simply tear off the pod while piping hot, and slip the bean from its skin right into your's kind of like a super-sized edamame. And please do lick the salt/char/garlic off your fingers while you're at it (it's the best part). Just this once you can forget your manners...but don't forget the napkins.

Grilled Fava Beans

This fabulous way of preparing fava beans not only imparts a rich, smoky flavor, but also saves on clean up! Feel free to use any herbs and spices that suit your fancy like crushed red peppers, lemon zest or chopped fresh herbs.

Prep time: 5 minutes
Total time: 12 minutes
Yield: serves 2-3


1 pound of fava beans
a couple of glugs of olive oil
1 tablespoon of minced garlic
a good pinch of sea salt


1. Wash pods well then toss with oil, garlic, and salt in a large bowl

2. Heat a grill (or grill pan) to medium high. Grill fava beans for about 5 minutes on one side, then flip and grill for another couple of minutes. Remove one from the grill, open the pod, slip the bean from the skin to see if they are tender enough. If not, continue grilling for a couple of minutes more.

3. Serve hot...with napkins.


Unknown said...

Sounds delish!! And wow, I guess I never really realized how large fava beans are!!

Unknown said...

Wow, this sounds delicious, I'm definitely going to give this recipe a try.

I had the same legume experience growing up - thought I hated them because the only beans I ever ate were baked beans - neither of my parents were legume eaters. Now I love a myriad of varieties, even lima beans (gasp)! Who knew?