What's Tasty at Sigona's Farmers Market

May 18, 2010

In the Kitchen with Sigona’s: Fava Beans

In the Kitchen with Sigona’s: recipes for Fava Beans

Fava beans are bright kelly green colored beans with a subtle nutty flavor and creamy texture. Fava beans are one of the prized delicacies of the legume world for their taste and versatility.

Shelling & Preparing Fresh Fava Beans

  1. Shell the beans by opening the pod at the seam (if you snap off the end it’s easier to split along the seam).
  2. Remove beans from their pods.
  3. Add shelled beans to a few cups of boiling water and cook for 2 minutes. Drain and plunge beans into an ice bath. Drain from ice bath when cool enough to touch.

    Pictured: Fava beans that have been shelled, boiled and peeled

  4. Remove the tough outer skins from beans by gently pinching the bean and sliding the bean out of the skin. Discard skins.

Pasta with Greens & Fava Beans

Beans and greens are a classic combination. It takes a while to prepare the beans so you can do it ahead of time or enlist the family to help shell and remove the skins.

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces Fusilli or other small shape pasta (we like whole wheat pasta)
  • 1 ½ – 2 bunches of Swiss chard, leaves and stems
  • 2  lbs. in-shell fava beans (shelled = about 1 cup), shelled and prepared as follows
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2-4 garlic cloves (more or less…however you like it), minced
  • 1/2 to 1 cup of chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 TBL fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • Freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Directions: Cook the pasta according to package directions. Once drained, drizzle in a little extra EVOO so the noodles don’t stick together while they wait to be added to the dish later.

While the pasta cooks, chop the chard into 2 inch pieces and prepare the shelled fava beans. To prepare the beans, first prepare an ice bath in a medium bowl. Set aside. Bring a few cups of water to a boil and add shelled fava beans for 2 minutes. Drain and plunge boiled beans into the ice bath. Once cool to the touch, drain. To remove the outer skin from the bean, gently pinch the bean and slide out of the skin. Discard the skin.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook for 1 minute then stir in the chard stems and cook for 2 minutes. Add in the favas and half of the chard leaves and stir. Add in the broth and then the rest of the chard leaves. Continue stirring while broth reduces and the chard wilts (it may look like a lot of chard, but it cooks down quite a bit).

When chard stems are tender but not too soft, add in the cooked and drained pasta and lemon juice. Stir to mix, salt and pepper to taste. Serve with grated Pecorino Romano.

Bissara (Moroccan Fava Bean Dip)

Serve with endive spears, carrots or pita wedges. This is a great protein-packed alternative to cream-based dressings and dips.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. fresh fava beans, shelled and prepared as follows
  • 2 TBL lemon juice
  • 4 TBL extra virgin olive oil*
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • Pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2 tsp parsley, minced

Directions: To prepare the beans, first prepare an ice bath in a medium bowl. Set aside. Bring a few cups of water to a boil and add shelled fava beans for 2-3 minutes. Drain and plunge boiled beans into the ice bath. Once cool to the touch, drain. To remove the outer skin from the bean, gently pinch the bean and slide out of the skin. Discard the skin.

Put half of the beans in a food processor with a little olive oil and lemon juice. Blend until fairly smooth, add remaining beans and olive oil* as needed. Process until smooth.

Transfer to bowl. Stir in salt, cumin, cayenne (optional) and parsley.

*Add more or less olive oil to get the constancy you’re looking for.

Sautéed Fava Beans

We’re letting you call the shots with this recipe. Just eyeball what you think you may need for as many people as you plan to feed. A side of sautéed fava beans goes wonderfully with grilled salmon.

What you need:

  • As many fresh fava beans as you like (1 lb. in-shell fava beans serves about 1-2 people), shelled and prepared as follows
  • Sigona’s Fresh Press Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and pepper
  • *See Cook’s Note

Directions: To prepare the beans, first prepare an ice bath in a medium bowl. Set aside. Bring a few cups of water to a boil and add shelled fava beans for 2 minutes. Drain and plunge boiled beans into the ice bath. Once cool to the touch, drain. To remove the outer skin from the bean, gently pinch the bean and slide out of the skin. Discard the skin.

Heat olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté for about 1 minute. Add the prepared beans and sauté for 5-8 minutes until soft, but not too soft. Season with salt and pepper, serve warm.

*Cook’s Note: sauté a little shallot or red onion with the garlic for more flavor

Fava Beans & Crispy Pancetta Salad with a Pea, Pecorino & Mint Dressing

Luisa Ormonde, a Sigona’s Preferred Customer, submitted the following recipe for this really simple yet tasty dish for fava beans (in season now!) that she spices up with peas, almonds, pancetta and more. Luisa, who is also a private chef in San Carlos, likes to use young peas and broad beans/favas when they’re in season; if you can’t find them, she suggests using edamame instead!

Ingredients:

  • 4 lbs. broad/fava beans, in their pods (makes about 4 cups peeled beans)
  • 2 c. fresh English peas

    Luisa's salad featuring fava beans and fresh peas

  • 6 slices pancetta, chopped (or you can use 8 slices of applewood-smoked bacon)
  • a handful of slivered almonds, toasted
  • 1/2 c. mixture of both Pecorino and Parmesan cheese, grated
  • a handful of fresh mint, leaves picked
  • 8 TBL [Sigona’s Fresh Press] extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of 1 or 2 lemons
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions: Prepare the beans and peas by shelling them and preparing them as follows.

To prepare the beans, first prepare an ice bath in a medium bowl. Set aside. Bring a few cups of water to a boil and add shelled peas and fava beans for 2 minutes. Drain and plunge boiled beans into the ice bath. Once cool to the touch, drain. Remove the outer skin of the fava beans by gently pinch the bean and slide out of the skin. Discard the skin. The peas are fine as is.

Place bacon on a baking tray, with the almonds spread out next to it. Place in a 475 degree oven, keeping an eye on the almonds to make sure they don’t color too much. The bacon should crisp in the same amount of time needed to toast the almonds, but simply remove one or the other if it is getting too far ahead.

To the bowl of beans and peas, add olive oil and 4-5 TBL of lemon juice, to taste. Add cheese and mint. Toss and season to taste − it should have an amazing flavor of sweet peas, tangy lemon, fragrant mint and a softness and roundness from the cheese. A balance is good, but you should also trust your own personal judgment.

Divide on plates. Sprinkle the bacon over and serve.

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