Fresh Fava Bean Sauté

Though many varieties of beans are grown in Colorado, it’s hard to come across a high-protein legume in fresh form.  Luckily, if you take a walk around the Farmers’ Market this time of year, you will find that quite a few of the farms grow fava beans and offer them for sale fresh in the pod. 

They do take a bit of time to prep, but once they are double-shucked, they cook in a flash and don’t require anything more than a little garlic, olive oil, and salt.  The shucking is a great opportunity to get some help in the kitchen, even from little helpful hands.  Of course, there are many ways to prepare fava beans, but if you haven’t tried them before, try this simple version, which only requires you to prep what you are going to need for your next meal.

  • 10 fava bean pods per person
  • 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • fresh lemon juice, optional

With a knife, cut a slit in the fava bean pods, then split open and remove the beans.  Boil enough water to cover, add enough salt to approximate sea water, then add the beans and blanch for 30 seconds to 1 minute.  Drain into a colander and put into an ice bath, or just run cold water over to stop the cooking process.  When cool enough to handle, make a small slit in each of the beans with your fingernail and slit the bean out of its skin.  Now they are ready to go! 

Heat a sauté pan to medium, then add oil and garlic.  Sauté garlic until fragrant.  Add beans and season with salt and pepper.  Cover loosely to avoid oil splatters, and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Enjoy! 

Of course, you can also add any number of other seasonal ingredients.  They would be delicious with fresh corn cut from the cob, zucchini or other summer squash, etc, etc.  I usually keep it pretty simple, because after taking the time to shuck them bean by bean, I want to really savor each delicious bean.

FYI – I have read that you can also grill them in the pod – just coat the whole thing in olive oil and salt, then grill until they puff.  Each person can then open the pod and shell the individual beans themself.  The salt from the pod coats the bean just before you pop it in your mouth.  This will be my next experiment with fava beans…

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