Fresh fava beans require patience. You have to shuck them twice, once to remove the thick shell, and then again, after cooking the beans, to peel the outer skin. Are they worth the effort? You tell me. Fresh favas, or broad beans, are only available for a short time in spring, so it’s not an effort that you have to, or get to, make that often. I kind of like the meditative aspects of plopping out the beans from their pods like mini-green-bean rocket ships. Cooked in salty water, they taste a lot like edamame, and can be just as deliciously addictive. Here is a recipe for a simple fava bean dip with garlic and goat cheese. It’s terrific with jicama, and cucumber slices. The cool crunchiness of the jicama or cucumber works well with the creamy beany-ness (for lack of a better word) of the dip. Many thanks to fellow Sacramento food blogger Hank Shaw for supplying me with bunch of fava beans from his garden.
- 2-3 pounds fresh fava (broad) beans, shelled (about 2 cups)
- 1 Tbsp salt
- 1/2 cup chopped green garlic (can substitute 4 cloves chopped garlic)
- Olive oil
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1/4 cup or more water
- 5 ounces goat cheese
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 Remove the outer shell from the fava beans. The easiest way to do this is to work over a large bowl, bend the fava bean pod near one of the beans, squeeze the bean with your fingers, to have it shoot out into the bowl when the bean snaps. Keep squeezing, pinching and snapping, until you've de-beaned all the pods.
2 Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon salt. Add the shelled beans, simmer for 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove beans from the hot water and place in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and to shock the beans into maintaining their bright green color. When the beans have sunk to the bottom of the bowl of ice water, fish them out and remove and discard the outer peel.
3 In a small skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium. Add the chopped green garlic (or chopped regular garlic cloves) and cook until softened, but not browned, about 3 or 4 minutes.
4 Place shelled and peeled beans in a food processor with softened green garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, and water. Pulse until smooth. Stream in a tablespoon or two more of olive oil while puréeing.
5 Scrape mixture out of food processor into a bowl. Mix in the goat cheese until well combined. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.
Serve with sliced cucumbers or jicama.