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May 16, 2007 01:11 PM

Fava beans

I love them, but always find myself cooking them pretty much the same way: with some mint, shallots or onions and sometimes some garlic, a bit of stock or water; then eat as is or cook further and mash it up a bit for bruschetta.

Just need some other ideas for fava beans. How do you like to prepare them? Thanks.

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  1. I just made them for the 1st time last last weekend. It was very labor-intensive, what with shelling the beans, cooking them, then piercing every skin one at a time to release the beans. Any faster way to do this?

    14 Replies
    1. re: jono37

      Unfortunately, no. I asked the same question last fava bean season, and everyone agreed, there's no faster method.

      1. re: jono37

        With a bit of luck, you might find a Chinese market that carries imported frozen "broad beans" (the British name for favas). They are frozen, shelled, but with the slippery hulls attached. We get them in the SF area for about $1.50 lb. I parboil, cool, then snip the hull with scissors and pop out the bean. Excellent in place of green peas (carbonara, Cashew Chicken, etc).

        1. re: OldTimer

          I agree. I get completely shelled frozen favas (broad beans) in Flushing, NY for $1.49 at Hong Kong Market. In NYC, I get 28 ounces of favas (unshelled, frozen, from Chile) for $2.50. When favas are not available fresh at the market, these work well. An added benefit is you save a lot of time in preparation because they're already shelled. Taste is comparable.

          1. re: Cheese Boy

            I bought double peeled frozen favas today at an mediterrean market. How do I cook them ? No directions on package

            1. re: HSMA

              "Double-peeled" means you have favas that result looking like these on the LEFT in this image, correct? If you have those then you are in for a real treat. Look -->

              I have a very spartan recipe I use, but it is quite good. Take some finely diced onion and toss it into a pot along with your fava and cook it as you would soup on medium to high heat. Drizzle it with extra virgin olive oil just before serving and enjoy. Very delicious. If you're looking for a little bit more, you can include a standard mirepoix (and potatoes), but I feel it detracts from the taste of the fava. Also, be aware that the favas will cook rather quickly because they are out of their shell [unprotected]. Taste for doneness OFTEN otherwise you will experience what'll look like a green mushy mess. HTH.

              1. re: HSMA

                I like simmering with either fresh or canned tomato in its juices ,herbs, s&p and olive oil .or steam and serve with salad ,cheese etc .Here on Long Island I get canned (several varieties) jarred (green and real good),as well as frozen and fresh.

            2. re: OldTimer

              Where in the Bay Area did you find them? In Portugal they were readily available that way in the freezer section of the grocery store, and I haven't been able to find them here. In Portugal we'd parboil them in bouillon or water, then sautee in olive oil, sliced garlic, paprika, or whatever spices suit your fancy. Mmmm!

              1. re: Kitchen Imp

                99 Ranch the freezer section.

                1. re: OldTimer

                  You will also find them in the freezer section of Portuguese or Brazilian supermarkets (in the Boston area.)

                  1. re: somervilleoldtimer

                    Thats great news. I don't know of any of these markets though, anywhere near the South End?

                    1. re: jules127

                      Hmm. I don't know the South End very well. I shop in Somerville, in Union Square, at Market Basket, beloved store. But I think the beans are Goya brand, so ask your local purveyor to start stocking them.

            3. re: jono37

              I agree that it's labor intensive - but prepared some this weekend and got into a rhythm removing the skins. Assuming you are right handed, pick up blanched fava bean in right hand, pierce skin with thumbnail, transfer to left hand and squeeze out the bean and drop in the bowl, tossing the skin. While you are doing that with the left hand, pick up the next bean with the right hand, repeat etc. Once I got going with this, it didn't take long at all to get them all done.

              1. re: jono37

                In the parallel Fava Beans thread, I've described two methods recommended by Paula Wolfert

                I've only tried the freezing method. Though Paula says her beans pop out of their skins when she handles them that way, I've found it fairly laborious if somewhat faster and less messy than parboiling.

                1. re: carswell

                  Thank you for this post. Last PM I reaped the remaining favas from the garden, 17 pounds, in the pod! Planted them in the Fall 2010 for green compost but let them grow instead. We have been eating them like English peas, very young, needn't be peeled. Now I will go the Wolfert way of freezing. Also had article about roasting whole pod and eating salted like edamame. Will try this also. My fingernails are dyed black from just stripping 'em from the stalks. It's gonna get a whole lot worse!

              2. 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. I discovered a great way to cook them up without shelling them: fava bean soup, pureed. This is modified from Anderson's The Food of Portugal (a great cookbook, btw).

                  This recipe is good for about 1 pound favas. Remove the favas from the pods, but don't shell them, and boil about 20 min. In a separate stock pot, sautee two coarsely chopped onions and a couple cloves garlic (diced) in olive oil. When the onions are limp, about 5 min, add 2 medium-sized cubed potatoes and sautee a bit. Then add lots of chicken stock - maybe 4-5 cups. Boil about 20-30 min, or until potatoes are mushy. When they are easily squished with a fork, add the favas and their cooking water. Recommended spices: a pinch of red pepper flakes, black pepper, dried mint. Puree completely, either in a blender/food processor in batches or (my preference) a hand blender. Put one tsp chopped fresh mint in each bowl and ladle soup over it.

                  1 Reply
                  1. Whole Foods used to have favas frozen and already peeled. A very good product and SO convenient. Maybe if we all begged, they would get them back?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: ChefJune

                      I recently think I saw that Agata & Valentina mentions on their website that they carry them. Haven't been though.

                    2. Try Persian markets if you're in LA or somewhere else with a sizable community. They will always have bags of double-shelled favas in the freezer section.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: the mess

                        just bought some fresh ones at my local sprouts.
                        whole foods normally carries the dried ones in their bulk department.