Saturday, September 24, 2011
Remembered by those of a certain movie-going generation as a favorite of cannibal Hannibal Lecter, "I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti." -- there is more to the fava bean than just that, Sir Anthony Hopkins' approval aside. A late summer staple best eaten fresh, fava beans have a wonderful and unmistakable flavor, and they don't require much cooking either, unlike lima beans, which they resemble but do not taste like.
We picked up a few pounds of the bean pods at Corrado's in Wayne last week, which, for those of you who do not know it, is our best and most extensive source of fresh produce and and ethnic foods of all kinds at really terrific prices. [See our other articles about Corrado's: Foodie Destination and What a Great Place!.]
Our primary customer, who also approves of fava beans. although initially suspicious, helped us to double shuck the beans -- they have a pod which holds around 4 to 6 big beans, and the the beans themselves need to have their skins removed after about 5 minutes of blanching in salted water.
So, to the recipe, which we lifted many years ago from a Bobby Flay recipe, and which may or may not have changed a bit over the years:
Fava Beans with Lemon and Asiago Cheese
4 or 5 cups of fresh fava beans (2 to 3 lbs of pods)
2 TBS of fresh minced garlic
1/4 Cup of olive oil
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 Cup finely grated Asiago, Reggiano Parmesan, Manchego or other good quality grating cheese
2 TBS finely chopped parsley
After you have shucked the beans from the pods, drop them in boiling salted water (as for pasta), and cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Drain into a collander and place in a bowl with cold running water until the beans have lost their heat -- do this fairly quickly since we do not want to cook the beans any further. Skin the beans by hand by breaking the skin at the side with your finger nail and then squeezing the bean out into a bowl. Add all ingredients except cheese and parsley, and mix well, then add the cheese and mix again, and add the parsley. Serve warm, but not hot. Adjust the salt level after the dish is warm.
That's it. OK, it's a little bit of work, but it's fun and the results are worth it.