Fava Beans at their Best

by Marcella Hazan on October 10, 2011

Fresh Fava BeansA lifetime of associating fresh fava beans with Spring and with Easter lamb urged me to pass them by. The bin at Whole Foods was overflowing, they had just come in to the store, they were fresh, and in anticipation of the pleasure they could bring, I stopped and loaded my cart, perhaps ten pounds’ worth. What do two old people living alone do with ten pounds of fava beans?  All the largest ones I blanched and peeled them, ziplocked them, and every few days grabbed a fistful out of the fridge to snack on, serving them with shreds of pecorino or aged Manchego, a drizzle of olive oil and grating of black pepper, and once with freshly sliced bresaola; the medium ones I braised in olive oil in their flavorful skins together with guanciale; in another unseasonal miracle, fresh English peas and tiny artichokes came to the market, and a couple of cupfuls of the medium favas went into making frittedda, which along with vignarola, composed of  the same ingredients, may be a strong candidate for the most delicious thing one can eat; there were some blanched, peeled  favas left over and they went into a quick sauce for homemade tagliatelle, sautéed in butter with a hunk of prosciutto ground very fine and whipping cream. How could I turn my back on decades of sticking to the season? It was easy.

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Jamie January 21, 2012 at 8:48 am

I really only discovered fava beans here in France when I saw that they were part of the Sepharade meal on Passover. I love beans in any form but don’t cook them enough and that includes favas. I love the idea of blanching them and snacking on them. And beans are wonderful in pasta (that I learned living in Italy!). A wonderful little reminder post.

Krista November 1, 2011 at 10:07 pm

I am just learning different ways to eat fava beans and love this post. :-) So many good ideas! I’m especially keen on trying them with shreds of pecorino. Delish!!

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