So when I saw Fava Beans on the highlighted list of ingredients for Eat Drink Local Week, I felt challenged. I’ve certainly had fava beans before and enjoy them tremendously, but actually cooking them myself? That was something I never tried. When I went to the greenmarket, I honestly wasn’t even sure what I was looking for. Would they be shelled, like fresh English peas? Would they be dried like the black beans I get from upstate? Well, they came in long, thick pea pods–think snap peas on steroids. I went home with a little more than a pound, with no idea how I was going to prepare them. Luckily, a quick Google search turned up pages and pages of how to shell fava beans.
Step 1: Remove the beans from the pod by running your finger along the seams. I found it easiest to snap (or cut)noff the top end (where the pod would attach to its stalk) and with that would come one of the side veins, opening up the pod.
Step 2: The inside felt almost like a fleecy blanket. Trust me, these beans were well protected! Next you need to remove the second layer of skin on the beans. Blanch the beans in boiling water for 30 seconds. After submerge the beans in ice water to stop cooking and quickly cool.
Step 3: Squeeze each bean on one end until you feel a slight gap between the bean and skin. Cut a small slit with a pairing knife and squeeze the other side of the bean to push it out of its skin.
Step 4: Prepare as desired. Sure 4 steps seems pretty easy, but after de-skinning each individual bean TWICE, time adds up. At that point, I was ready to eat; no fancy preparation this time! I ended up tossing them into a salad with mizuna greens, radishes and pickled onions. While I certainly appreciated the experience and liked trying something new, next time I think I’ll just stick to eating fava beans when they’re prepared for me.