Fava beans have a rich, buttery taste, and chefs love to incorporate them into their first spring dishes. Fava beans are a staple of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cooking. Young favas can be cooked and used unpeeled, but as they mature, their tough outer skins need to be removed. But it’s well worth the effort because their rich flavor is delicious in everything from salads to stews. They might take some time to shell and peel, but putting the tender green beans into any dish makes it sodelicious! Since they are so fresh, and have a naturally good taste, it is best to create dishes with them that use simple ingredients and highlight the taste of the beans themselves. Here is a simple recipe that does just that and also comes together in under half an hour.
Fava Beans with Olive Oil and Lemon
4 lb. fresh fava beans
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest
3/4 cup shaved aged hard cheese, such as Pecorino
- First, shell the fava beans from the fava pods. If you're new to fava beans, an easy method is to open the pods as you run the edge of a knife along the seam, cutting away the tough edge so that the pod halves come apart. Discard the pods.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the beans and cook until tender, 2 to 3 minutes (the amount of time required will depend on the freshness of the beans).
- Using a slotted spoon, drain the beans and then immediately plunge them into a bowl of ice water. This “shocks” the beans and stops the cooking process. This step ensures that the beans do not get overcooked and mushy.
- When cool enough to handle, slip off the outer skins of the beans and discard. Transfer to a serving bowl.
- In another small bowl, combine the extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, parsley, and lemon zest. Whisk until blended. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle the mixture on top of the beans and toss. Sprinkle the cheese over the top and toss gently again. Serve right away.
This is an easy recipe that takes hardly any time to put together. Not only is it packed with nutrients, it looks very appetizing with a bright green color. It can be served as an appetizer, a healthy snack, or as a side dish with a main entrée. The initial prep time aside, these make for a quick dish anytime. The light vinaigrette and a bit of shaved cheese is all it takes to create this tasty dish. You can eat these on their own, or you can even add pasta to turn it into a nice pasta salad. Add a protein like grilled chicken or pork, and you have a complete meal.
Try this simple fava bean recipe and let the buttery taste of these beans shine through. Just dress these beans with a light vinaigrette and shaved cheese to create a simple yet delicious dish.