This basic method of cooking fava beans was taught to me by chef Gabriel Claycamp of Culinary Communion. When I was recently able to get ahold of fresh fava beans, I wanted to cook them in a way that highlighted the taste of the beans themselves, and here’s how Gabriel suggested I fix them. Although fresh fava beans are, as he said, about 70% waste (and the prep time is shelling and peeling), the remaining 30% after you’ve prepared and eaten them are *well* worth the effort! We loved them!
- First, shell the beans from the fava pods (I found it’s sometimes easier - especially if you're new to fava beans - to open the pods when you run the edge of a knife along the seam, cutting away the tough edge so that the pod halves come apart).
- In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil, then add salt – the amount depends on how much water you have, but it should be very salty, like seawater.
- In a bowl, combine ice and tap water to make ice water; set aside.
- Add the shelled beans to the boiling water and let cook for about 3 minutes, then remove from saucepan and immediately plunge into the ice water to halt the cooking.
- Let the beans cool, then peel the outer skin from each of them.
- Over medium heat in a skillet, melt together the butter and olive oil, then add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute.
- Add the peeled fava beans and sauté for about 5 to 7 minutes, or until they are done to your preference.
- Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper, serve, and enjoy!
- Note: in choosing your fava beans, get the pods that are firm and fresh looking; also, if you’re feeling silly, have these along with your favorite liver dish and a nice Chianti.
- Note 2: once you've made these basic fava beans, you can add other delicious items such as caramelized onions or fennel, chunky fresh tomatoes, and/or a bit of chopped proscuitto.
- Note 3: I asked Gabriel if favas could be frozen effectively, and he said that yes, you can shuck them and blanch them for 1 minute at most, then freeze them in a single layer on a sheet in the freezer before putting them into bags; great bright green color and no mushiness in texture; thaw, peel, and use as usual.