Fava Beans 4-Eva
If all you know about fava beans is that Hannibal Lecter favored them with a nice Chianti, it’s time to get better acquainted (with favas, that is). They’re an ancient member of the pea family and have a nutty taste and buttery texture all their own. They do take a bit of work — fava beans have to be shelled, and unless they’re extremely small, the individual beans will have an outer skin that needs to be removed as well — but they’re deliciously worth it.
In Season: Peak season for fava beans is late March through early May.
What to Look For: Seek out sturdy green pods with a velvety fuzz. Avoid any with slimy brown spots or overly large beans.
How to Store: Refrigerate for up to one week.
Related: 14 New, Lighter Comfort Food Ideas
Fava Bean Salad with Roasted-Garlic Vinaigrette
Fava beans unite with fresh corn kernels, cucumber, red onion, and feta in a garlicky walnut dressing for a party-worthy side dish.
For the Vinaigrette
1 head garlic, 1/2 inch cut off top to reveal cloves
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
3/4 cup (2 ounces) walnuts, toasted and chopped
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
For the Salad
1 pound shucked fresh fava beans (from 3 pounds pods; 3 1/2 cups)
2 cups fresh corn kernels (from 2 ears of corn)
1 medium cucumber, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced (1/2 cup)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
1. Make the vinaigrette: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Drizzle garlic with 1 teaspoon oil. Wrap in parchment, then in foil. Bake until soft, about 30 minutes. Squeeze garlic from skins. Mash until smooth.
2. Whisk together the remaining ingredients with 1 tablespoon of the roasted garlic and remaining 2 teaspoons oil.
3. Make the salad: Prepare an ice-water bath. Cook beans in a large pot of boiling water for 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer beans to ice-water bath. Let cool completely, and remove with the slotted spoon. Cook corn in same pot for 1 minute, and drain in a colander. Peel thin shells off beans.
4. Toss cucumber, onion, parsley, feta, beans, and corn with the vinaigrette.
Fava Bean and Goat Cheese Dip with Radishes
Fava beans and radishes, two colorful harbingers of spring, combine in this brightly flavored appetizer.