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).

photo-3photo-2

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 Β 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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