This and That

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Archive for May 20th, 2013

Recipe: Fresh Fava Beans

Posted by Avital Pinnick on May 20, 2013

Fava beans out of pod

It’s that time of year again, the oh-so-brief period when fresh fava beans are plentiful in the shuk. They have to be shelled twice — first to remove the outer pod and then to remove the tough inner skin. You don’t get many beans to the kilo but they’re worth the effort. In the photo above, you can see the tough, pale green skin surrounding the shelled beans.

Below is about half a kilo of unshelled beans sitting in my sink. I only remembered to grab my camera when I had already started shelling the kilo.

Fava beans in pod

Although some people recommend piercing the tough skin with a knife, I find it much easier to use my thumb nail.

Here’s the method:

  1. Hold the bean in your right hand and use your left thumb nail to dig the short black “seam” out of the skin.
  2. Slide your left thumb and first finger over the bean, and under the skin, to separate the bean from the skin.
  3. Grab the bean firmly under the skin with your left thumb and first finger and use your right hand to slip the skin off the bean.

The reason you want to grab the bean at the end with the seam is because that’s where the bean is naturally joined together. You don’t want to break the join because the beans look prettier when they’re whole (breaking them into halves is unavoidable if the beans are very small, but it’s easy to keep them intact when they’re older and larger).

That kilo of unshelled beans yielded 350 grams of beans, enough for bean salad for the two of us for a couple meals. So delicious!

The photo below shows the beans before I made them into a salad. The salad is less photogenic because the beans have been cooked with spices.

Inner skin removed

Moroccan Fava Bean Salad

Serves 4

350 gm shelled, peeled fresh fava beans

3 large cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp sweet paprika

1 tsp ground cumin

2 tbs olive oil

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

2 tbs fresh lemon juice or to taste

2 tbs chopped fresh cilantro

Put the fava beans, garlic, paprika, cumin, olive oil, salt and pepper into a pot with about half a cup of water. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool and pour  lemon juice over the beans. Serve with fresh cilantro sprinkled on top.

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