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Hazan's "Roman style" fava beans... shelled, and then the skin?

Quick question for those more experienced with fresh fava beans and perhaps the "Roman style" version in her _Essentials_ book.

The one key step I notice missing from her recipe is that she doesn't mention removing that skin around the fava beans one removed from the pods.

The procedure is fairly straight forward, essentially, saute onions and pancetta, add shelled fava beans, toss and coat, add a little bit of water and cover for a few minutes, then when tender, salt them and serve warm.

Any thoughts here about the skin? Eat 'em?

Just curious... grazie,
-Nico

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  1. If they are really young fava beans (spring ones) then you don't have to skin them.

    1. I adore fava beans, buy them as often as possible when they're in season, and never, ever, saw one that was edible with the skin on. Not saying they don't exist, just saying that in years and years of buying them, I've never been so lucky as to find any that didn't benefit significantly from having the skin removed.

      1. In Rome we never remove the skin -- or rather, only fancy restaurants do, but they don't serve this dish. It's a classic springtime dish made with larger beans (the early small ones are eaten raw, with skin). Now, I don't know if your favas are different from ours, but if they are similar you absolutely do NOT remove the skin.

        1. Thanks everyone - some divided answers, but I guess I'll try out the don't-skin-them as an attempt per the non-mention in the recipe and the experience of some here.

          They are from my local farmers market, and this past Sunday (yesterday) was the first time I'd seen them all year long.

          1. In case anyone cares, for the archives...So I did not skin them and cooked them per the procedure I described - they were totally fine with skin-on :)

            4 Replies
            1. re: nasv

              Actually I was about to ask you to let us know how it turned out. I've planted a row of favas and need to be prepared for the results. In the past I've always skinned and then skinned again. But if I don't have to do that I'll be very happy.

              1. re: Nyleve

                Yeah, you don't for this preparation, and while I did "notice" the skin, it wasn't unpleasant by any means!

              2. re: nasv

                Told you! If you skin them, they are no longer "Roman style." I've just made vignarola -- peas, artichokes, and favas together (cooked separately then combined), another Roman springtime specialty.

                1. re: mbfant

                  Vignarola?!? I shall do my research :)

                  Thanks for sharing your insight here too - fave alla romana (sp?) was super good, will be in my weekly rotation while they last!