What I love most about fava beans is growing them. They sprout up vigorously and have beautiful white/purple/black blossoms. You can get two plantings if you plan it right. They are sturdy plants and benefit from some support, be it fencing or twine. Harvesting, preparing and cooking are the hard parts.
When I harvested these favas this weekend, my cat Fang helped me. She did no damage to the garden, except eating a leaf of corn. Other than that, she was a perfect supervisor.
Also called broad beans, favas can be cooked in their pods when young. I’ve never done this. Their chief claim to fame comes from a reference in Silence of the Lambs when Hannibal Lecter shares that he ate one of his victim’s livers accompanied with a side of favas and a glass of Chianti. Tell someone you are eating favas and invariably you’ll be asked, “with Chianti?” Honestly, I don’t know whether this association has helped or hindered the fava cause.
Note to world: I took a picture of the cooked favas with a side of cheese, bread and a glass of Shiraz (no Chianti available at the household). Then, I spectacularly deleted it while trying to Rename it. Quel Dommage. This is why I need to keep my day job.
In my experience, there is one way to prepare this legume. . . and that is to shell it, blanch it, and free it from the husk (de-husk?). So, you must first unzip the beans from their pods. Boil the freed beans in salted water for 2 minutes. Cool to handle. Then pop those tasty bright green beans out of their casing. There are many internet posts about how to do this, so I won’t go into it in detail.
You can eat them as is or use them like any other bean. Number One Son loves them made into hummus.
Here’s my fava hummus recipe:
- 2 C cooked and shelled fava beans
- 1 T Tahini (add more if you like!)
- 3 T lemon juice (or more!)
- 1/2 t kosher salt (or more to taste)
- 1 T sesame oil
Whiz in the food processor. Serve with pita chips or bread or jicama sticks.
(A sprinkling of sesame seeds and a drizzle of sesame oil to top is always a nice touch.)