We are getting broad beans in our weekly vegetable box, and I use them in all kinds of way. When small I chop them up, shell and all, and sauté with a touch of olive oil and garlic. When older/bigger I have shelled them and tossed them in a simple ratatouille. But after a little research I realize these are also my ole favourite beans that I always knew as a bean of another name, namely...fava beans.
In my restaurants, I occasionally went through the pain of dealing with fava beans...shell em, blanche em, skin em and then cook em. What was 1 large box ends up as two pints of beans, beautiful, velvety and tasty, but only two pints...I had a whole bushel in the shell a half hour ago??? So I developed a love hate relationship with one of the most complex and wonderfully tasting beans in the field. Today I did my old standby and shelled, blanched, skinned, etc...and made a wonderful easy dish in honour of my bean confusion.
Fresh broad/fava beans in shell (at least enough to fill a reusable shopping bag 2/3 full at the farmers market...)
1 glass wine ( or a nice glass of cool mint tea)
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 shallot, super fine dice ( or sub leek or onion) water
juice of 1 lime
butter to taste ( or sub evoo)
WHAT TO DO
1. Ready a small pot of boiling water.
2. Shell all beans and then place them all in boiling water for 1 minute.
3. After 1 minute, drain beans and strain into cold water to stop cooking.
4. Squeeze beans out of tough outer skins and save beans.
5. Okay...its amazing how little actual beans you now have left (I told you to buy a lot)! You will be rewarded in the wonderful flavour of this puree or you may decide the other options I give in the “more dishes to wash” section are less time consuming and more up your alley.
6. Did I mention you might want to drink a nice glass of wine ( or cool mint tea) while doing this easy but slightly time-consuming prep work for the dish???
7. Heat a small sauce pan on medium high heat
8. Sweat garlic and shallot in oil till soft and translucent.
9. Add beans and just enough water to cover them, to pan and cook till soft, 5-10 minutes (depending on how long they were blanched, how big they are, etc)
10. Add water as necessary to keep beans from drying out. When beans are soft and liquid is fully absorbed add juice of lime and smash this mixture with potato masher or stick blender.
11. Add butter to finished product and season with salt and pepper and freshly chopped mint ( or any other fresh, tasty herbs you have in the garden).
Serve this as a nice side to grilled lamb chops, as a nice change under some grilled chorizo sausages, a healthy puree to go with roast chicken, or use it as a fresh seasonal stand in for refried beans next time you are making blackened fish tacos...
MORE DISHES TO WASH
Use the blanched beans tossed in a vegetable salad of arrugula, radish and manchego cheese tossed with a simple citrus and olive oil dressing.
Cook dried fava beans till soft, mash em up good with olive oil, garlic and lemon and serve with roasted shallots, a little bit of tomato parsley salad, toasted pita and poached egg for a modern take on Ful, a staple food of old Cairo.
Sauté simply with garlic and onion, add a dollop of olive oil and serve over pasta with Parmesan, lemon zest and fresh herbs.
Whatever way you decide to use them...use them up because they only are available a couple months a year (roughly early June to late July) so when they are gone, they are gone and you can spend the next ten months forgetting how much time you spent getting them ready and simply remember their vibrant fresh silky flavour!!!