Thursday, June 09, 2016

Fleeting Pleasures: Fava Bean Salad

I got a text from neighbor. It read, "Want some Fava beans?"

I immediately texted back, "You betcha!"

A few minutes later I was standing in his back yard with a grocery bag watching him shelling some English peas—this guy is a consummate home gardener—and we chatted until he finished. Then he handed me at least a three-pound bag of luscious pods bulging with those brilliantly green early summer treats.

I was about to thank him and leave when he asked, "Could you use some fennel? I've got lots."

"You betcha!" I answered.

Fava Bean Salad

3+ lb. fava bean pods
2 cloves garlic
1/4 c. fresh mint, minced
1 serrano pepper, seeded and minced
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 c. olive oil
Salt to taste

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to boil. Put the pods—remove any debris or leaves and separate any that are attached—in the boiling water, allow it to return to a boil, then reduce heat to a good simmer for 15-20 minutes. Drain and run cold water over them to cool until you can handle them easily.

Split the pods open and remove the beans. If the beans are large, the skins around them may be woody, so taste one with the skin on first. I removed the skins from around the larger beans but left them on the smaller ones—they add a nice flavor and it'll endear you to any Italians in the crowd. Put all the beans into a mixing bowl with the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine. Adjust lemon juice, olive oil and salt to taste.

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