Fava Better Than Expected!
After picking the first batch of fava bean pods earlier this week, I realized that the time had come to find out if I actually liked them.
Did I mention that I've never eaten fava beans before? Did I mention that I assumed they'd taste like lima beans, easily my least favorite vegetable?
Did I mention I'm a little nuts? (Oh, wait, you've probably figured that out on your own...)
I really took a chance this year, buying seeds for something I actually expected not to like. But I've been delighted all along with the unusual growth of these legumes, and despite a hint of anxiety as I headed into the kitchen this afternoon, I was ready to give the favas a try.
Fava beans do require a little extra work. First, you have to pop open the thickly cushioned pod and remove the beans.
Then you have to blanch the beans to remove their thick translucent skins. (Ed has the process so beautifully documented on his blog that I won't attempt to repeat it here.)
After I had rinsed the blanched beans in cold water, I found myself inhaling a fragrance I hadn't expected: even fresh out of the casings, the blanched beans had an almost buttery, rich scent that made my mouth water.
By that point, my anticipation for dinner had turned to excitement, and I could hardly wait to share my produce with the Renaissance Man.
I sauteed some minced green garlic in a blend of butter and olive oil, and once the garlic started to turn golden, I added the fava beans and cooked them a little longer. With a dash of salt and pepper as well as fine ribbons of fresh basil and lemon balm from the garden, the beans turned out succulent and flavorful -- a simple but compellingly delectable side dish that held its own against the fennel pasta dish I had made for a main course.
Who would believe it? I sat there, savoring each tender bean individually, a happy smile lighting my face as I realized that even though I still wouldn't touch lima beans with a ten-foot pole if I could at all help it, I would be more than happy to eat as many favas as I could pile on my plate. (Perhaps it's a good thing I had a small crop.)
And I'm really glad I took the chance on an unknown vegetable this year.