The appearance of fava beans marks the beginning of spring. This week, we’re cooking the season’s last yield of the fresh-tasting legume in our Pan-Seared Salmon over Whole Wheat Israeli Couscous with Fava Bean-Olive Relish to bid good-bye to the season (and welcome summer in its stead!).
Fava beans are one of the oldest crops known to man, with evidence of cultivation dating back to 6,000 B.C. Many Italians believe that these beans saved the population of Sicily from starvation in the Middle Ages when all other crops failed. But this delicious and sustaining bean doesn’t come easy, and there are a full seven steps of prep to harvest the delicate bean from its thick and stubborn skin. Here’s how to beat the fava at its own game:
1. Lay the favas out, just as they are.
2. Shell the beans.
3. Discard the shells and keep the favas around.
4. Blanch the favas in a pot of boiling water for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
5. Drain the favas thoroughly, then shock them in a bowl of ice water.
6. Working one at a time, using your fingertips, remove a bean from the bowl, break off the tip of the husk and squeeze the bean out of the outer skin; discard the skin.
7. Repeat with the remaining beans. Once you’re done, you’re ready to eat.