Cooking fresh fava beans: newbie needs help
Hi chowhounders. I saw a great recipe with fresh favas which mentions peeling them twice? I can see the giant pods so there is definitely shucking but is the next step basically self explanatory? Is this necessary? They look like giant sugar snap pea pods. Just want to know what I'm getting myself into! Thanks for any help, techniques or advice
Fava beans take some effort to shuck. The first pod comes off easily -- just pop them out the way you would any bean. But then you'll find they still have little jackets on. I've heard that you can eat these, but I've also heard that this intensifies the, er, digestive distress that normally comes with beans. I've never eaten the jackets so I don't know what they taste like -- or how bad the gas is. Anyway, the best way to get the second skin off is to boil them in water for a few minutes, till they float to the top. Then let them cool and squeeze them out of the second shell. Most of the shells will have begun to split and those are easy to remove; you may have to slice some of them with a thumbnail.
I would peel them unless they are very small and thus very new. Anything else, make sure you peel it. Rule of thumb - peel. In order not to over cook the beans, follow Becky's advice above but with some tips. First, do boil them for a couple minutes. 2 or 3 is usually enough. This will turn them bright green but will also make them easier to peel. 2nd, I wouldn't allow them to cool naturally, I would drain them in a colander and then run them under cold tap water to stop the cooking process. After all, this step is more about peeling than it is cooking.