Do me a fava! Fava beans grow up...not down

I have never had any luck growing fava beans.   This year, as luck would have it,  I have a bumper crop.  There is only one small problem – fava beans require work and, more importantly, patience to prepare.  If you want to eat the pod and the bean like a snap bean, harvest when the pods are two inches long.  If, on the other hand, you are interested in the beans harvest when the pods are about 8 inches long and full of plump beans.

Fava beans, together with artichokes, are vegetables that make me wonder how anyone first decided to eat them.  Artichokes with their fleshy scales and “choke”and  fava beans which require not only removal from their pod but removal from their inner skin.

Fava beans nestled in their cozy pod

Prepare the beans for cooking first by pulling off the “string” of the pod to separate the pod.  Remove the bright green beans inside.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; add some summer savory and the beans. Summer savory and fava beans marry well.  Cook, uncovered, over high heat  for 6 to 8 minutes or until tender; taste a bean to be sure. Drain the beans and immediately run under cold water to stop any further cooking.  Once cooled, pinch the beans where the little black seam is and pull off their skins.

Fava Beans in Garlic Cream

Makes 4 servings


3 1/2 pounds fresh fava beans (weight with pods) – two cups cooked beans

1 sprig of summer savory or a pinch of dried

5 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 bay leaf

5 parsley stems

1/3 cup Ver Jus

1 tablespoon tarragon infused wine vinegar

2 tablespoon reserved cooking liquid

1 1/4 cups cream

Pinch of cayenne pepper


1.Prepare fava beans as above.

2. Combine garlic, bay leaf, parsley, Ver Jus, Tarragon infused Wine Vinegar, and 2 tablespoons of reserved cooking liquid in a large saucepan.  Bring to a boil and simmer, uncovered, until reduced to about 3 tablespoons.

3.Add cream.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Simmer and cook over medium heat until sauce is thick enough to coat a spoon about nine minutes.  Stir often to prevent burning. Strain if you must.

4.Add cayenne pepper and summer savory.  Adjust seasoning if necessary.

5.Add fava beans and simmer for 2 minutes. Serve and enjoy.  Don’t worry about the cream.


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