I confess. I was a fava bean virgin. I'd never eaten them before and this is the first time growing them for me. But the other day I had my first small harvest. Fava beans aren't like peas or beans. I got the hint from reading blogs of people who do grow them. They cryptically mention that you shell them not once but twice.
Then I was faced with a pile of the beans. I knew I was supposed to shell the bean too, but when I tried to take it off with my fingernail, it just didn't want to come. The trusty internet saved me here. I found out I'm supposed to blanch them for 30 seconds to loosen the skin. So I did that.
With a bit of trial and error I found if I snipped off the end with my fingernails on the far side of where the bean attaches to the pod, the bean will squirt right out. Above left is the pile of bean shells and to the right are the beans themselves. Fava beans have a lot of waste in them. Of the seven ounces of bean I harvested, I maybe got an ounce at the end. Maybe. I didn't weigh it.
A normal bean you are supposed to cook. There is a toxin in beans that gets deactivated when you cook it. Favas have bean in their name, so I was assuming the same in them. But many recipes have them eaten raw. It is in a different genus than beans even if it is a legume. So to taste one I just popped one in my mouth right away.
And I fell in love. Fava beans are a pain in the butt to get to, but let me tell you, they taste divine. They are a mix of tastes. I can taste pea in them and maybe a touch of bean. But the reason they are so good is the buttery flavor of them. When I was looking for how to peel them, one person described them as tasting like mozzarella. Now I don't taste that, but they taste and feel rich like something full of fat even though they don't contain much.
So all you fava bean lovers out there. What are your favorite recipes? I could just saute them plain and eat them. And they would make a fabulous hummus. They really don't require anything to make them taste good, but I can see they would add to other things.