If you have the great good fortune to have fresh fava beans in your market, gather all you can carry with the faith that they’ll disappear faster at home than the time it took for you to make the decision to acquire them.
The large pillow-like pods protect dime-sized beans, each encased in its own little sheath. Sound like the beginning of a big-labor activity? Quite the contrary. Simply snap the stem end off with a knife and make an easy slit down the side. Slide the beans out and into salted boiling water. Fresh fava beans need only simmer for 3 min, then you scoop them out and literally slip them out of their sheaths. Super-easy.
So, what next? A common and delectable recipe showcases just the fava beans with a drizzle of great olive oil, salt and freshly ground pepper, and a few curls of Pecorino cheese. Serve at room temperature or chill and serve the next day.
Want to serve the consummate spring dish? Pea, Asparagus and Fava Bean Salad assembles in minutes, and although the dish is so simple no recipe is needed, there’s help in Bon Appetit if you’d like it. Just know that sugar snap peas and asparagus also need only 3 (and no longer than 4) minutes of cooking. They’re so tender that snap peas may be cooked (and eaten) in-shell. Drain and toss lightly with a 3:1 ratio of olive oil to fresh lemon juice. The Bon Appetit recipe suggests sweating a thinly sliced shallot in oil until nearly crisp, and adding freshly cooked and crumbled bacon as a garnish. Totally elective, as the flavors of the fresh vegetables stand easily on their own. Present on a beautiful platter.
The option I chose was to use all three vegetables with fresh, sautéed spinach and zucchini finished with vegetable stock and married with fresh, angel hair pasta.
The magic is in using market-fresh vegetables. Simplicity of preparation pairs well with quality ingredients.
The creation and presentation of any of these dishes is an expression of a commitment to life to finding something you love to do, and to doing it well for yourself and for others.
So, redefining fava beans and a nice Chianti is better said by someone who lived the expression of her words: “Pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you.” Maya Angelou.
Express that which you love for the benefit of others. Feed them well.