Spring may have sprung and gone, but my Fava memories deserve sharing. I’ve told you the tales of the roving basket of fava beans. I didn’t enjoy as many fava dishes this year as I have in the past, but did discover something worth shucking a bean pod about. Normally, after shucking a basked of bean pods, I cook the beans in their shells. Frankly, the thought of adding another step to the cooking process seemed like a pain in the pattooty. Then one fava craving day, I googled FAVA BEANS. I was surfing for any interesting recipes. Each one I found said shell the beans. NOOO! I am not going to boil a pot of water, toss in the beans, pull the beans out and burn my hands just to shell them. Shucking them from the pods is work enough.
Apparently, some other cooks didn’t want to deal with the heat of the boil either. They froze the beans instead. I couldn’t believe it when I read that and googled fava some more. Quite a few sources said freeze the beans and the shells practically pop off the bean. Hmmm. Of course, I read all the instructions and then realized I didn’t have a small sheet pan that would fit in my freezer and guarantee a single layer of beans. Also, I wasn’t going to hang around and time the beans for 30 minutes.
I shucked the beans and tossed them into a nine inch square baking dish – it is what I had that would fit in the little freezer. Were the beans in rigid little rows not touching? Nope, I tossed them in the dish. Yup, they were on top of each other. Then I put the dish in the freezer and forgot about it. Later that night, I remembered and went to visit them. They had turned whitish and looked cold. I stirred them so the ones on the top could cuddle up on the bottom. Then I went to bed.
The next night, I wanted to use the beans. I remembered reading they should be allowed to thaw for at least 15 minutes. Of course, that meant I was not going to get dinner done in time so I didn’t wait. WRONG. This was a classic “Midge doesn’t listen” mistake.
When I first tried to pop the beans out, all I did was freeze my fingers and ultimately peel the shell layer off. As the beans began to thaw it became a flim flam thank you ma’am.
Notice how the beans in this picture look whiter and wrinkled. They were thawing. It actually works! But you really have to wait at least 15 minutes.
It does take time to shell the beans and frankly, I don’t know if my palate is refined enough to really taste the difference. They do feel smoother when I eat them, but taste better? Jack said they tasted different but he wasn’t sure either if it was better. What do you think?
How did I cook them? Hmm – what did I do? We just chopped up bacon and let it sizzle. Then snuck in a little olive oil and a grossly chopped onion. When the onion started to look translucent, I tossed in the beans and enough lamb bone broth to cover them. The usual seasonings were added to the pot – salt, pepper, bay leaf and (please don’t tell my nonna) garlic powder. I also added some thick chunked potatoes. Slowly they cooked.
They were tasty. Coupled with some crusty rye bread, they were dipping great. Would I peel the shells in the future? Hmmm.
8 thoughts on “Pop Those Fava Skins – Pop Pop”
Ken and I have been getting favas beans at our local Greenmarket and love them. We do take them out of their individual wrappers, after cooking them in boiling water for 1 minute and then tossing them into a bowl of ice water for 5 mins. After that, they pop right out of their skins. But I will try your freezer technique, too. We make fava spread to put on crostini or add the beans and fresh peas to pasta. Delicious! New York is now in a prolonged Phase 3 of its reopening, but one can eat and drink at restaurants that have a outdoor seating, which gives me a reason to get out of my sweat pants and comb my hair. And one day, when the EU lets Americans back in, we hope to eat fava beans with you and Jack in Italy! Best wishes to you both, Susan.
I will try a fava spread. What a great idea! Hope to see you on one continent or the other.
Hi Midge, thanks for the freezing tip! I always blanch the beans and shell them. This sounds a lot easier.
Miss everyone, can’t wait for a vaccine.
Thanks Camille. Hope to see you soon.
What a fun and interesting post. As of late, I am more and more reticent to waste any food, so I would probably opt for eating the favas in their skin. But I do have to admit, the creaminess of just the very inner fava is quite yummy. Find your inner fava!
Ohhhhhmmmmm I am becoming one with my inner fava! Thank you.
Loved your post about favas. There’s a big divide here in Ecuador about whether or not to eat the skins. I learned to eat favas from a person who said “yes” to this question but it’s not the custom in my city. Here they always peel them to eat them. Go figure. At least we can get fresh favas here all year long.
There’s a nice Palestinian version of humus made with favas instead of ceci. I leave the skins on the puree them for this and use the rest of the same ingredients as the traditional one with ceci.
The humus sounds great. I will try to make it. Thanks.