Basic Fresh Fava Beans:
Prepare a bowl of ice water. Bring a medium pot of water to a vigorous boil while you remove the fava beans from their pods.
Add a tablespoon of baking soda to the pot, then blanch the beans for 2-5 minutes (depending on their size). Fish them out as their skins pop so they don't absorb the soapy taste of the soda, and drop them into the ice water. When tender - taste one! - remove any remaining skin-on beans from the boiling water to the ice water. Peel by gently squeezing the thick end of the bean, if necessary nicking the thin end with your thumbnail.
Toss them into salads, pasta or risotto, or use them make the Crushed Favas below.
Crushed Favas with Mint & Lemon
Pulse the favas, olive oil, mint and lemon juice in a food processor along with ½ teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Stop when you reach a nice chunky, spreadable consistency - you don't want this as smooth as hummus. Taste and adjust the balance of ingredients to suit your palate. No food processor? No problem. Mash the ingredients by hand with a pastry blender or large sturdy fork.
- Toss with cooked pasta, tiny-cubed Pecorino cheese, and a few mint leaves
- Serve as a dip for crudités or pita bread
- On a cheese platter for a vibrant pop of green
- Spread on crostini as a dramatic backdrop for shaved radishes or a pretty pink shrimp