Fava Bean Fantasia
These fabulously fuzzy favas are fun to play with, perhaps even more fun to cook than they are to eat. I like to slit their long pods neatly, pop out the beans, then stroke the fuzzy pod linings. Just two minutes in boiling water for the inner bean and the fun begins again, as one by one I slit the tough skins protecting the beans to reveal their tender emerald essence. I get all green under the fingernails in the process, and it’s a satisfyingly silly amount of work, yielding only about one cup of edible bean per kilo of pods and debris. Fava season makes me wish we had a compost heap.
I had thought that many people shared my fava fondling fetish, but a French friend confided that she buys them frozen and already peeled, while an English friend said she just boils and eats them with the tough inner skin still on. Wowsers.
These particular favas lent themselves to a simple salad, stirred together with a bit of crème fraîche, spring onions, and basil and mint from my new herb garden.
Tumbled over a frittata they were mellow and springlike, leftover on crackers they made for a virtuous aperitif. If you’ve had Fear of Favas, get some to play with. And don’t forget to pet the pods.