Fava beans are yummy. Ever have any? Problem is they’re a pain to prepare.
Traditionally, before you can eat a fava you have to shuck the green goodness from the pod, blanch them in boiling water and then shock ‘em in an ice bath. After that you strip the tough outer skin off the bean, reducing it to the size of flat a kidney bean. I’ve always found this to be way too much work for a few beans. You’d have to shuck for hours to get enough beans to feed more than a couple of people.
In Sunday’s Chronicle Food section there was an article about roasting fava beans. The article stated, that by roasting the beans you’re able to cut way down on the prep time. This sounded like a dream come true to me so off I ran to the farmers market where I filled my bag with favas.
Basically roasting a fava bean is just like roasting any other bean. You toss the clean beans (whole bean/pod) in olive oil, salt and pepper and roast them in the oven at 450 degrees until tender. According to the article you can eat the entire fava like you would a green bean, or you can treat them like you would edamame and shuck the bean from the pod post roast.
My review — Well, I did exactly as the recipe directed. I roasted the beans for 25 minutes, which turned out to be a bit too long. A little disappointed but still excited I bit into one of the favas as if it were a green bean. Uck! I found the fibrous shell to be stringy and mushy so I scraped the notion of eating the pod/bean combo and took matters into my own hands. I stripped beans from their mushy pods, tossed them on a plate, drizzled them with a bit of olive oil and a sprinkle of pecorino cheese. Saved! They were pretty good. Not as good as the blanched ones that take forever to prepare, but good. Certainly worth a try. I’ll prepare favas this way again for certain. The roasting method would be especially good if you wanted to mush the beans up with some garlic and spread the mixture on crostini with a little dusting of cheese. When in doubt, add bread and cheese, you can’t go wrong.
P.s. According to the National Nutrient Database, one cup of cooked fava beans contain about 187 calories, 13g protein and 9g of fiber and are an excellent source of iron, among other things. Pretty good for a little bean.