Some of the best things only happen once every year and so it is with the fabled fava bean. So many jokes and quite a bit of history come with this podded vegetable, not to mention the “time consuming” task of preparing them.
It’s so worth the arduous task of preparing “horse” beans as they are known in England and even better if the task is accompanied with a good bottle of Chanti! The Italians revered the arrival of the first protein so much that they celebrate with a national holiday and on every street corner fava bean vendors sell big bushels of the raw bean.
A quick internet search on the medicinal benefits of fava shows quite an impressive list: Dopamine production, fighting breast cancer, B Vitamins as well A, C and K. Fiber rich and helps to restore gut bacteria, immune booster and help lower cholesterol and heart disease. High in protein, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, iron, copper, selenium, zinc and magnesium!
To prepare fava beans, cut off the tips of the pods (Step 1) with a sharp paring knife. Press along the seam to open the pod (Step 2) and expose the beans.
Lift out the beans (Step 3), then remove any small stems (Step 4) that remain attached. Each bean is covered with a tough skin that must be removed. This is much easier to do when the beans are blanched in boiling water for 30 seconds, then drained and plunged into ice water. (If the beans are boiled more than a minute they become mushy.)
Slit each skin with your fingernail; the bright green bean will pop out (Step 5). Fava beans may be added to soups or stews, buttered and served as a vegetable or tossed with vinaigrette for a salad.