FAVA BEANS SUGGESTIONS:
There’s a short window for these famed vegetables. The first pick is usually quite tender and there’s no need to peel the outer skin of the bean. However, as the season for fava’s (two weeks) comes to a close the outer skin toughens and is a little bitter and popping is recommended. To do this shuck the bean, steam the beans until soft, the outer skin should pucker slightly. There’s a couple of ways to do this: serve the bean and have your guests do the popping themselves, nipping into the outer layer and squeezing the bright green goodness into their mouths. (They are an aphrodisiac!). Or nip them with your nail and squeeze them into a bowl for combining with other ingredients.
As Christine mentioned, fava beans (also known as broad beans) are both highly versatile as well as rich in history! Below are some tips and recipes for working with the vicia faba plant in the kitchen.
A Quick Fava Bean Snack
Soak matured beans in water overnight or even longer. Once they are almost completely rehydrated, drain out the water and fry them in olive oil until they are crisp and the shells split open. Salt and serve with a wedge of lemon.
Some Ideas for Fava Greens
You can treat fava greens as you would normally to spinach or pea shoots. Some say that they lend themselves to taste like spinach, even. You can mix them (raw) into salads or wilt them slightly by tossing them with a warm vinaigrette. Alternatively, saute them with garlic and use them to garnish ricotta-topped crostini. Or if you have a large bunch, wash and dry well. Saute quickly (no more than 3 minutes) over high heat with a little butter and salt. Top with a dash of lemon zest.
Fava Greens, Edible Flower, and Poached Egg Salad
Courtesy of Westphoria
- 2 cups lightly packed fava greens (leaves and tender sprigs)
- 1 handful flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 1 tbsp. fresh marjoram leaves
- 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
- 1/2 cup pansy petals and fava blossoms (organically grown)
- 1 tbsp. sliced green onion
- 1 1/2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tbsp. Meyer lemon juice
- Sea salt, to taste
- 1 large egg
1. Put cleaned fava greens, herbs, flowers, and green onion in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, whisk oil, lemon juice, and salt to taste.
2. Crack egg into a small cup. Heat a saucepan of water until small bubbles form. Gently lower egg into water and cook just until whites set, about 3 minutes.
3. Toss salad with most of dressing and transfer to a plate. Gently scoop egg from water with a slotted spoon and set on salad. Drizzle remaining dressing over egg.
Surprise! Zucchini season has begun…never before have we had them so early. The tunnel houses are amazing and a great investment that is paying off with early crops. So far, the basil and tomatoes are surviving the frigid early April temperatures and we feel pretty confident that they’ll make it through. The forecast is calling for 80 degree weather next week and we are gearing up our garden crew with this preparation: “Monday the checkered flag comes down so make sure yer oil’s changed and yer gas tanks’r full” It has been observed that the swapping out of the Winter birds (sparrows) for the new arrival Summer birds (Tanager) is a sure sign that we are about to experience some warm weather.
Surprisingly, the fava beans are 5 feet tall – amazing with the little rainfall we’ve had and no supplemental water. The fava is an ancient cultivated plant thought to have been present in the Mediterranean diet around 6000 BC or earlier. The whole plant is edible and fava greens make a delicious complement to any dish as an edible garnish. The flowers are extremely fragrant and can also be eaten. But the pods are what we are waiting for; Italians are so passionate about fava beans that they celebrate the arrival of the first protein of the season with a national holiday! Other benefits of legumes are discussed in an interesting article from one of our dedicated perveyors: Terra Firma Farm.