Fava, Five Ways

We’re now in peak fava season, which has us thinking about all of the ways we’d like to cook this fresh spring bean before they’re gone. We’re sharing our five favorite ways to prepare fava.

BLANCHED

Blanching means giving the beans a quick dunk in boiling water. In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, blanch the fava beans for 1 minute. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Transfer to the ice water, drain, then peel them. Let cool and toss with fresh mint, lemon zest, sea salt, and olive oil.

PUREED

Fresh lemon juice and extra-virgin olive oil add a bright creaminess to puréed favas, best enjoyed on crispy baguette slices. Perhaps top with fresh goat cheese or mozzarella.

  1. To prepare the fava beans for cooking, remove them from their large outer pods. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil, and fill a large bowl with ice water. Blanch the beans in the boiling water for one to two minutes, until they slip fairly readily from their skins. Transfer the beans with a skimmer or slotted spoon to the ice water. When they’re cool, drain the water and remove the beans from their whitish skins.

  2. To make the puree, heat olive oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the shelled, skinned beans, garlic, herbs, water, and a good couple of pinches of salt and pepper. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the beans are very tender (about 15 minutes), adjusting the heat as necessary to prevent burning, and adding more water if necessary. Remove the pot from the heat, and remove the herb sprig. Mash the beans with the back of a spoon, mortar, or food processor.

  3. Stir in extra virgin olive oil and a bit of water if necessary to achieve a nice, thick but spreadable consistency, along with a squeeze of lemon juice and a bit of grated zest, if desired. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with toasted baguette slices

SAUTEED

Blanch and shell your fava beans and saute on a hit skillet for five minutes, Toss with a fennel & mint salad. Finish with lemon and olive oil.

CHARRED

Grill the whole favas (pod and all) for five to seven minutes until lightly charred. Toss them with olive oil, lemon, and crushed red pepper and serve hot. They can be eaten whole—the tender pods develop a lovely charred flavor—but it's also easy to eat them in the traditional way by popping the beans out of their pods and outer skins if preferred.

  1. Grill the favas over high heat for about 5 minutes, turning occasionally, until softened and charred in spots.

  2. Return the beans to your serving platter and top with the scallion, lemon, crushed red pepper and salt.

FRIED

Favas blended with garbanzo beans and some light spices make for a super flavorful falafel with a gorgeous bright green color.

  • 1 cup fava beans (blanched & peeled)

  • 1/2 cup chickpeas

  • 1 medium onion (finely chopped)

  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley (stems removed and finely chopped)

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper

  • 3/4 teaspoon cumin

  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

  • Oil for frying

  1. Preheat oil to 350 F. 2 inches of oil in a frying pan will suffice. Vegetable, canola oil, or olive oil can be used.

  2. Place beans in food processor and blend. Add remaining ingredients to form a thick paste-like consistency. If too thick, add 1 tablespoon of water at a time until desired consistency.

  3. Remove falafel mixture from processor. Spoon falafel into the hot oil by the tablespoon. Fry for about 2 minutes or until falafel is a golden brown color. Serve falafel by itself, or with hot pita bread with veggies, hummus, or tahini sauce.