“I came to love my rows, my beans, though so many more than I wanted. They attached me to the earth, and so I got strength like Antæus. But why should I raise them? Only Heaven knows.” Henry David Thoreau
Hearty Fava beans. Grown for over 6,000 years, its peasant roots are now emerging as a new food trend. Each spring, Italians patiently wait for the grass-green pods to become elongated, filled with thumbnail sized beans. In Puglia last April, I noticed the variety of ways favas were incorporated into so many local dishes, especially when they are in season, which is right now.
In Italy, favas dot pastas, soak up spicy olive oil for a salad, are smashed on top of crostini and pureed for a coulis to cuddle fish or seafood. Their bright green brilliance is appetizing and their taste is even better.
The beans have a soft sweetness that almost melts in your mouth. I had heard of favas before but not attempted to prepare them because of the hype about how time-consuming they were. I assure you, they are well worth the sacrifice of time. You will be rewarded with a new taste, a gorgeous color addition to your recipes and a powerhouse of protein-rich nutrition.
There are so many ways to incorporate these green beauties into your life, I just couldn’t make all the recipes I dreamed up! Some more of my ideas are: Garlic-infused fava purée under seafood kabobs, pasta with favas and artichokes, olive oil dressed favas and shaved pecorino cheese (an Italian favorite), favas smashed with a bit of olive oil (basil infused is delicious) and spread on crostini.
This just in: While shopping at Trader Joe’s last weekend, the demo featured pasta salad with fava beans, imported from Italy and in the frozen section! Fresh is always best so check your local farmer’s market first.
I’d love to hear from you fava lovers. How do you use them in your favorite dishes?
Contact me for tips on growing favas from seed. They require a mild climate because they are planted in October/November and harvested in late March to April. My story “Garden RX” has photos of the established plants and their height.
For more information on favas, check out this fabulous website:http://www.delallo.com/articles/fava-beans-green-protein
Ciao for now,