This week, I ventured out to check on Nico, one of our hardworking picking crew, who was hunkered down in the fava bean patch and informed me “I just picked $10,000 worth of fava beans Georgie! I’ve never seen so many fava’s in my life!”
We, maybe not $10,000 worth of fava bean (I wish! Heck, I’d be driving a lot bigger extremely dirty truck if that was the case…), but Nico did pick a whole heck of a lot of fava beans. A couple hundred pounds worth. And there are perfectly delicious.
For those of you who don’t know about fava beans, this is what they start out looking like:
|Young spring fava plants|
You have to plant them earlier – they like to grow in cool, wet weather. I plant in February/March. Then sometime in July they get real tall (at least 5 feet, sometimes higher!) and out emerge gorgeous little white and black flowers that smell like honey at dusk. Yum! A few weeks later and we have – fava beans!
|Tender yummy fava beans|
Fava’s are an ancient crop, so beloved in Mediterranean cuisine and cultures and some people of Greek descent have developed an allergy to fava beans!
Fava beans are a bit of work to prepare, you must shell them out of their outer pod and then each lima-sized individual bean has an “outer shell” that is best removed with a quick blanch (20 seconds in a pot of boiling water) to loosen the skin and then slit one edge and “pop” the bright green bean out of it’s casing. That’s the good stuff.
And btw, for any of you who might complain that “favas are just SO MUCH work.” Well, this farmer AIN’T buying it. Now, if you have planted them in February, hoed them two or 3 times, watered them, fertilized them, picked them AND THEN you have gone through the process of de-podding and de-shelling the beans and you still think they are too much work….Well, I can respect that.
But if all you gotta do is sit down with a nice glass of vino and a friend or two and have a nice 10-20 minutes breaking shelling fava beans to create a wonderfully local and seasonal dish…well then you aren’t getting any sympathy from me!
And, here is a nice recipe to follow once you have enjoyed your fava bean de-shelling!
Saute of Fresh Fava Beans,
Onions, and Fennel
3 lb fresh fava beans shelled
1/3 cup olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 fresh fennel bulb trimmed, sliced
1 teaspoon fennel seeds coarsely ground with a spice grinder
1 1/3 cup canned low-salt chicken broth more or less
4 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1/2 cup chopped pancetta
1/2 teaspoon dried savory
2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Salt to taste
Freshly-ground black pepper to taste
1.Cook fava beans in boiling salted water 2 minutes. Drain, cool and peel outer skins.
2. Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and fennel bulb; saute 5 minutes. Add favas or lima beans and fennel seeds; saute 3 minutes. Add 1 cup broth and 2 tablespoons dill; bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer 10 minutes to blend flavors.
3. Stir in pancetta and savory, adding more broth if mixture is dry. Simmer until favas are tender, about 15 minutes longer.
4. Mix in lemon juice and 2 tablespoons dill. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before serving.)
And while fava’s will be ruling the day, we will of course, have much more at market today! Including…
From Willowood Farm:
– Potatoes, potatoes, potatoes
– Garlic, garlic, garlic
– Bulb fennel
– Torpedo Onions
– Ailsa Crag onion (sweet big onion! Yum!)
– Leek bunches
– Savoy Cabbages
From Prairie Bottom Farm
– Lettuce mix
– Young summer squash
– Huge roasting beets
– Baby onion bunches
– Squash blossoms
Hope to see you at market!
Willowood Farm of Ebey’s Prairie