Fava Beans Roman Style

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Despite the unfortunate association with a cannibalist, fava beans are actually quite delicious. They're large, meaty beans with a wonderfully bright color and flavor. They have great texture so they can stand up to most anything. The farm sent me some gorgeous fava beans so I decided to make my favorite fava bean recipe: Fava Beans Roman Style. Onions and garlic are sauteed until softened and sweet then tossed with the cooked fava beans and seasoned simply with salt, pepper, and fresh basil. To add creamy contrast to the beans is semi-hard goat cheese. You can substitute something like havarti or even smoked mozzarella if you can't find a semi-hard goat cheese with wonderful results. Serve the dish at room temperature with some fresh crusty bread. Enjoy!

Fava Beans Roman Style
2 lbs fava beans, cooked*
1 small white onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
juice of half a lemon
1/4 cup cubed semi-hard goat cheese (or havarti or smoked mozzarella)

Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan and add the onions. Season with a small pinch of salt and pepper and cook until softened, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute. Add the beans and mix in to combine. Add the basil, lemon juice, cheese, and season with more salt and pepper to taste. Toss to combine (add more olive oil if desired as well) and serve.

*To cook the fava beans, peel back the pods and remove the beans. Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the beans, cooking until they turn bright green and float to the top of the water. Remove promptly and transfer into an ice bath (a bowl of cold water with ice cubes in it) to stop the beans from continuing to cook. Once the beans are cool enough to handle (about 5 minutes), gently peel back the outer layer of the beans. It's not necessary to and this outer coating is totally edible, but it's tough and most people don't prefer it. You'll expose the bright green, tender bean gem hidden inside. Now they are cooked and ready to be eaten as is or used in a dish.

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