Monday, August 4, 2014

Cooking with Fresh Fava Beans (and Jack and the Beanstalk)

Once upon a time aka the Middle Ages, Europeans ate fava beans!  They have been called by many names, such as broad beans, horse beans, English beans, and Windsor beans. After the discovery of the New World, other beans were introduced to Europe.  This NPR site suggests that the fava bean is what allowed Jack to have an adventure with a certain giant via a beanstalk!  Recipes are included at their site.   

Personally I have never heard of fava beans until I watched a cooking show on television. Ever since seeing television chefs using them and making them look so delicious and fresh, I have been looking for them in American markets, specifically where I've lived in San Antonio and now in Northern Virginia.  I have only seen them in froze form but I continued to hold out until I found *fresh* fava beans in the produce section. One afternoon my daughter and I were shopping for lettuce in our nearby grocery store when to our surprise, we saw fresh fava beans! I had to buy some! The cashier had to ask what they were! lol

Since I might forget how to prepare them, I thought I'd post what I did here. 

The pod looks like this on the outside...

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...but it looks like this on the inside. You can see the impressions where the beans I popped out used to rest.
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The beans looked like this after I popped them out. 

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After blanching them and then peeling off the outer skin, I finally had the treasure of the fava bean!

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I had only grabbed a handful of pods to taste test these with the family, so the yield wasn't huge. I didn't want to spend a lot of money we wouldn't like, especially we are sort of picky eaters. I tossed them with a homemade lemon vinaigrette and topped them with shaved parmesian.  

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We all enjoyed them. My husband is hoping to put a vegetable garden in the backyard and he'd like to grow these!

Resources:

http://articles.latimes.com/1991-05-30/food/fo-3453_1_fava-beans

 http://www.npr.org/2007/03/28/9163283/fava-beans-a-little-spring-on-your-plate


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