The season brings about a plethora of fresh tastes, letting us know Spring is here. The fava bean is one of those.Its' "green" flavor makes it perfect for everything from soups to pate.They're definitely a great addition to barbecues and al fresco dining.
David Tanis knows this and wrote about them in his City Kitchen column in yesterday's New York Times Food section.This is the time for them,late spring, and they are tender enough to eat with the pods still on.Fava beans should be incorporated into the diet. They are high in folate and manganese as well as being rich in dietary fiber.The beans are a staple in the Mediterranean diet and figure prominently in Italian, Greek and Spanish cuisines.They are great gracing a minestrone or in salads, thanks to their creamy texture and slightly nutty flavor.The only bad thing about them is ridding them of their pods.It's a tedious chore as Mr. Tanis can attest to. You can avoid this by getting immature pods with no beans inside. These outer coverings can be grilled and are just as versatile as the mature pods and can be grilled over coals or served a la plancha ,cooked on a griddle. They can also be stir fried in a hot work too along with being added to a Spring vegetable soup.. Peeling the older ones is tedious but worth it . Make the work easier by employing the family to help out and doing the day before using is a big help too.
Mr Tanis gives a lovely recipe with the beans being mashed on toasted baguettes slices. The beans have a silky texture that makes them wonderful as a kind of pate. He adds garlic cloves and red pepper along with rosemary. The pepper can be omitted if considered too hot. Try freshly ground black pepper instead. The beans are first dropped into boiling water and then they're plunged into ice water. They have to be skinned when cooled and this is an easy task.Pierce the skin with your thumb and then slip it off. These can be prepared up to a day in advance if you don't have the time to do it the day of.The fava beans are then sauteed in olive oil in a skillet over a medium hot heat. They should be cooked for only a few minutes but not browned. A half cup of water is added and then the beans are simmered until softened. Do this for about ten minutes or until most of the water has been cooked off.You can use a potato masher (preferred) or a wooden spoon to roughly mash the favas.Return them to the stove and cook on a medium heat. This is the time to add the pepper and rosemary along with a little water if the mash is too much. Transfer the bean mash to a warm bowl as you prepare the baguette slices.Smear a tablespoon or more on each slice. You can drizzle some olive oil and a light sprinkling of sea salt on them if you want.
This is the time of year for fava beans. Make them in a tasty pate or add to a Spring vegetable soup. They are a great addition to any dish.