Fava beans are appearing now in our local Bay Area farmers markets.  They are so fresh-tasting and delicious.  You do have to shell them, cook them and peel them before serving.  However, they are so worth it – and it really takes only a few minutes. 

When choosing fava beans, go for the pods that are smaller, uniformly green and crisp. The beans inside should be green, too. Avoid the larger pods that have yellowing beans inside.


Start by shelling the fava beans. Remove the stem end and pull off the string that runs lenghwise along the pod.  Open the pod and remove the beans inside.  Discard the pods. 


Cook the beans until they are just tender. To do that, put them into a saucepan and cover them in water. Bring the water to a boil and let the beans cook for only 1-2 minutes, until they are just stating to get tender and the skins loosen up. Remove the beans from the heat and drain them immediately. Fill the pot with cold water to stop the cooking of the beans. Drain again and let them rest until they are cool enough to handle.


The fava bean must then be popped out of its skin. Grasp it between your thumb and forefinger and push. The whole bean should pop out. Discard the skin and keep the naked bean.


Now that the beans are shelled, cooked, skinned and ready to go, put them onto some decorative salad plates, drizzle them with a really nice olive oil, sprinkle with a coarse sea salt (such as fleur de sel) and finish with a bit of fresh lemon zest (Meyer lemon, if possible). Add some shaved parmigiano reggiano, some fresh burrata or fresh mozarella for an extra-decadent treat.

Here are more recipes that feature fava beans:  Crostini of Fava Beans with Meyer Lemon, Seared Salmon with Fava Beans and Truffle Oil and Seared Dayboat Scallops with Fava Beans.


Oh how I wish I was back in California to have some farm fresh fava beans! They are always such a treat!