Dinner: Playing with Fava Beans

photo-4I love playing with food. One great playdate: Produce (or greenmarket) curiosities. And these oversized, lumpy, browning fava bean pods that I found the other day are just about a perfect match.

For starters, I know what fava beans are; I’ve had them dozens of times, mixed in pastas, or sauteed with garlic and shallots (a side dish). They’re that bean that almost looks like a lima bean, but isn’t, and tastes so much better.

But who knew these things are locked away in such a high-security ward: To get to the bean, you have to first shuck these pods from the shells, then you have to extract the beans from a second, interior pod (see below). This recipe ended up being the loose basis for my fava bean experiment:

First, shuck: Just break the pods, and open. (It gets easier as you go).

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Second, blanch: Dumped the beans in their inner casing into boiling water and let bubble away for 2ish minutes. Drain, and dump the beans into a new vessel, let the cold water run (maybe throw a few ice cubes in). That’s blanching.

Third, pop out the beans: Just don’t squish them. The Internet tells me, there are various methods of doing this. My own method was moderately successful.

photo-1Fourth, blend/puree: Just do it. Put the blanched beans, plus minced garlic, plus olive oil (liberally, as needed), plus lemon juice (also as needed), plus salt, pepper, and  whatever else you’d like. The blades shouldn’t get stuck too much; if they do, tap down with a spatula and add a little more olive oil.

I didn’t do this, but one solution might be: Add a dollop of sour cream or greek yogurt.

When it gets about the texture of humus, it’s done. Scoop, smile and enjoy saying the word “crostini.”

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