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Fava Beans!

I have a wicked craving for fava beans and (provided I can find some) will be buying large quantities of them for a side dish at a dinner party this week.

I've blanched, peeled and sauteed them berfore with excellent results, but wanted to solicit any winning recipes you might wish to share.


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  1. mmmmm...fava beans. Here is one of my fave recipes (as I remember it) which just also happens to be really, really easy:
    Put fava beans in pot and cover with vegetable broth. Throw in some sprigs of fresh rosemary
    Cook until beans are tender (you may need to add more broth at some point to keep the beans covered)
    Remove the rosemary. Put beans in bowl (I usually include a little of the broth but not all of it) add some olive oil, salt, pepper, and a few tablespoons of fresh, chopped parsley.
    Serve hot or cold.
    simple, refreshing, and delicious!

    1. If you are open to a cold dish - just blanch, peel and toss with olive oil, lemon juice, minced shallot, a lot of chopped parsley, salt and pepper. you can also sprinkle on some homemade ricotta over top. It is fresh, light and tasty.

      1. I used this recipe from Lydia Bastianich and really liked the results. It was easy and although I would never have dreamed up that combination of ingredients, I liked it a lot.

        The website below does not give her attribution, but it's word-for-word.


        1. In the new edition of *The Cooking of Southwest France*, Paula Wolfert has a recipe for a ragout of fava beans, artichoke hearts, fennel, pancetta and shallots that she got from Jean-Pierre Moullé, for many years the chef at Chez Panisse. He uses it as a base for a succulent pork belly braised in Sauternes or other sweet wine and finished on the grill and she likes it as a side for duck confit. If you're interested and can't put your hands on the book, I can e-mail the recipe to you or summarize it here.

          3 Replies
          1. re: carswell

            This is very much the way I make them. Infact just picked some a few days ago from my garden. I cook them, peel them, then clean artichokes, cook the cleaned hearts, then just toss with garlic, olive oil, and preserved di ed lemon peel. I make this from our Meyer Lemons and always keep on hand. Just wonderful!


            1. re: carswell

              Yes could you please summarize the recipe, it sounds wonderful!

              1. re: smsliu

                Paula has two techniques to speed up the fava-peeling process. One is to steam the beans in their pods, and then shell and peel them under cold running water (the downside to this is that the beans have to be cooked immediately or they turn slimy). The other is to freeze the shelled but unpeeled beans and then slip the peels off as the beans are thawing (it's still a lot of work).

                FRESH FAVA BEAN RAGOUT
                Adapted from Paula Wolfert's *The Cooking of Southwest France*

                In a medium skillet over low heat, cover and cook 1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots and 1/2 cup finely diced pancetta in 1 tablespoon duck fat or lard for 5 minutes. Uncover and cook until the pancetta begins to brown. Add 1/2 cup thinly sliced artichoke hearts, 1/2 small fennel bulb thinly sliced lengthwise and 1 teaspoon sugar. Cook 3 or 4 minutes more. Turn the heat to high and pour in 1/4 cup water. Add 3/4 cup unsalted chicken stock and 4½ to 5 cups favas (about 6 pounds in their pods). Bring to a boil, cover, lower heat and simmer until the favas are tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

            2. I blanch, then get rid of the tough skins if necessary. Toss with lemon, salt, pepper, a crushed garlic clove, a little dried chili, and plenty of good olive oil. Let sit for at least an hour, remove garlic clove after a day or so if the taste starts to get too strong.

              I eat that alone or with really good bread for dipping.

              You can also make a nice pasta sauce. Make the above, give or take whichever ingredients you like, mash about 1/2 or 3/4 of it with some basil, add some nice cheese (pecorino, parmigiano). Add olive oil if it's too dry. Toss with pasta of your choice.

              1. They are really good with either pecorino or pancetta, with a good grind of black pepper.

                1. I like them blanched, peeled, and gently stewed for about ten minutes in olive oil, a few chili flakes, garlic clove, a sprig of rosemary, S&P. I then puree the mixture with a bit of lemon juice.

                  I spread it in a large dish and top with oil cured black olives, pecornio, and parsley. Lovely with pita and makes a good filling for pasta as well.

                  1. Gluten-Free Girl food blog had a good fava bean and tomato salad recipe. The flavors together were very nice. Here is a link to the recipe: http://glutenfreegirl.blogspot.com/20...

                    1. Hi, one of my favorite dishes at Del Posto (Batali's upscale Italian restaurant in NYC) is the orecchiette with lamb neck sauage, chanterelles, and fava beans. While I don't have the recipe, the dish does not some with much sauce, and appears to be mainly sauteeing all the ingredients with the orecchiette. You may want to give this a try!

                      1. Thanks for all the great suggestions. Being an exceptionally lazy man, I went with the simplest preparation (howchow's recipe), but punched it up a bit with some (greasy) aspects of other recipes mentioned here.

                        I chopped and fried some bacon and sauteed chopped fennel and shallots in the bacon fat with a little olive oil. I then combined the sautted fennel/onion mixture and the bacon with the blanched, peeled fava beans; I seasoned it with lemon, black pepper and plenty of parsley. Before seving, I added some chopped tomatoes and grated pecorino cheese on top.

                        The result was somewhere between a salad and some oddball form of salsa--but we were pleased with the results.

                        1. I am reviving this thread, after 3 years, rather than starting a new one, to ask a question about fava beans.

                          I enjoy fresh fava beans, that are bright green in color.

                          When I cannot get them fresh, then I either buy canned/bottled beans from the italian grocer, or canned fava beans from Progresso at the grocery store.
                          The Italian beans are always green, while Progresso's are a dark brown.

                          Does anyone know why the Progresso favas are brown?
                          I've read two explanations, neither are definitive.
                          Either they are a different variety, from Egypt,
                          they are previously dried, and then rehydrated and canned, resulting in the brown color.

                          Anyone know for sure?

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: jerryc123

                            Favas are green like peas if you pick them while the pods are green, but as they dry they turn brown, so it could be that the Italian beans were picked earlier. If the Progresso beans are rather small compared to the Italian beans, it might be the variety. There's a small, not very good tasting variety called horse beans, maybe because that's the only animal they were fit for. Trader Joe's marketed horse beans as favas, but that lasted about 6 months no surprise).

                          2. I love fava beans. They are so worth the effort. I just posted a corn and fava beans salad on my blog, and I'll repeat the recipe for you here!

                            Corn and Fava Bean Salad with Mint

                            1 1/2 lbs. fresh fava beans
                            Kernels from 1 medium ear of corn (3/4 – 1 c.)
                            3 scallions, white and light green parts sliced
                            1 T. chopped fresh mint
                            1 T. extra virgin olive oil
                            1 T. fresh lemon juice
                            Pinch salt
                            Freshly ground black pepper

                            Shell the beans – you will have about a scant cup. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the beans, cook for 2-2 minutes and drain. Rinse with cold water. Slip the beans out of their skin. This is easy if you tear a bit off the end and then squeeze lightly. Bring a smaller pan of water to a boil. Add the corn kernels and blanch for 1 minute (or a bit less if you have corn with very tender, small kernels.) Place the beans and corn in a bowl with the scallions and mint. Pour on the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and a bit of pepper. You can add extra lemon or mint to taste, but be judicious – you want to mostly taste the essence of the beans and corn. Stir to combine, and serve at room temperature.