Fava beans. If all they make you think about is a nice chianti and Hannibal Lector, it’s time for you to dig a little deeper.
Fava beans have been around forever, but they’re just recently gaining recognition in American cuisine—and it’s recognition well-deserved. Favas are sweet, creamy, a little nutty, and worth a little bit of extra prep time. They’re not snackable off the vine like sugar snap peas, their late spring contemporaries, but they’re versatile, REALLY tasty, and pack a lot of nutritional value.
Favas are encased in a thick pod (don’t eat it!), leathery outside and fuzzy inside. The first step in preparing them is to take them out of their pods. All but the smallest beans also need to be blanched (a minute will do) and removed from their waxy shells. But the work is worth it! There are a million different things you can do with favas—grill them whole in the pod, puree them into a dip, or mix them into a pasta or salad dish. Hopefully you’ll find a way that works for you!
Storage: Fava beans will keep for about a week, sealed in a plastic bag, but the sooner you can eat them, the better they’ll be!
Fava bean recipes: