Always wanted to buy some fava beans and didn’t know what to make? Well, then I have a fava bean salad for you! Sweet corn, fresh fava beans, spicy red onion, and earthy sage make for a great and tasty salad on a warm day.
Every year at the farmer’s market I wait patiently for fava beans to appear. I love them and I can only get them from my local farmers. Unfortunately, these are not something I can ever find in the supermarket, though maybe you are luckier than I. If not, your best best is to head to the farmer’s market and check around.
For me fava beans are a mid-summer treat since I live in chilly Massachusetts. Around here the farmers plant favas for harvesting in July since the summers don’t get too hot and the winters get very cold. In milder regions, favas are a spring crop, and in places where it gets neither too hot nor too cold, like Italy, favas can be an all year ’round crop, though from what I’ve read they are considered a spring vegetable there too. (At least Italian cookbooks always pair them with spring peas and asparagus.) Since there are many people who should be looking for fava beans right now – you lucky people – I thought I’d post a fava bean recipe I made last summer. One I’m looking forward to making again!
The secret with fava beans is to either be happy with a little, teeny scoop of favas as a side or to combine them with complimentary vegetables for a more substantial meal.
Because that huge 2 pound pile of favas you bought and brought home? You are going to peel it twice. First to open up the big, puffy, fuzzy pod and extract the beans. That’s not too bad, since it’s fairly quick even though your bean pile is much smaller. Ah…and then you need to peel off another layer! This leaves you with an even teenier amount of beans, but you are done and can eat them now. Yay! And they are totally worth eating, though I do recommend having a helper for the whole peeling process. Not only will another set of hands move things along, but you will also have someone to talk to and complain about it with. These are both good things. 🙂
Don’t let all the peeling stop you, though! Even if you don’t have a helper. Think of it as an adventure in food, especially since you probably won’t get a chance to buy them more than a couple of times in a season. That’s not much peeling, right? Just enough to make a quick fava bean saute or this corn and fava bean salad.
- 2 lbs fava bean pods
- 4 ears of corn
- ½ medium red onion, thinly sliced
- 8 sage leaves, thinly sliced
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- black pepper, to taste
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil on the stove and set up a bowl of ice water. While you are waiting for the water to boil, split open the fava bean pods and free the fava beans from the pods. Cook the fava beans for 2 minutes; then drain and put them in the ice water to cool. Once cool, slip the fava beans from their skins. If the skins aren't breaking open easily for you, slit the skins with a paring knife as needed.
- Cut the kernels off the ears of corn and add them to a medium serving bowl along with the fava beans, red onion, and sage.
- In a bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Serve immediately.