Fava beans (also called broad beans) are one of those amazingly tasty vegetables which no one knows about. Oh, you may have seen dried favas or broad beans in the store, but they are not the same as fresh! This fresh fava bean salad is the first way I ever made fava beans and still one of my favorites.
As I did last year with my Corn and Fava Bean Salad, which I made the year before, I made this recipe last summer! This summer I’ll make another fava bean recipe for next spring (and a garlic scape recipe or two as well), so I can have them here for you when they are actually in season. 🙂
I get my fava beans in July, which is when no one is looking for fava bean recipes…well except for people in northern climates who are all ‘I thought they were a spring vegetable!’ as they see favas at the farmer’s market mid-summer. That was me several years ago, since Lidia Bastianich steered me wrong. Though not really, since she was talking about fava beans in Italy, where you can have them with spring asparagus, but I was so sad I couldn’t make the recipe! Now I’m fine with it since fresh fava beans are awesome any time of the year.
A few points about fava beans before I continue:
- Don’t worry about how pretty the pods are! The beans are way inside, far away from a few spots.
- Buy more than you think you’ll need. A pound of favas doesn’t go far.
- Enlist help in peeling them. It takes a while!
- Your best bet for finding favas is a local farmer.
- Bookmark this post and then buy them when you see them. Blink and you’ll miss them for the year.
- You should go buy some right now! Or in July! Whenever they are in season for you. 😉
Now that I’ve made my points, let’s talk about this fresh fava bean salad! Because this recipe is a great way to try out fava beans (since it’s so simple!) and a great way to let fava beans shine (since it’s All About the Favas).
Honestly, with beautiful, fresh favas like these you can eat them with a sprinkle of salt and call it a day. That is the great thing about buying in season vegetables! They speak for themselves and need very little in the way of preparation. However, it’s hard to go wrong by adding a bit of fruity olive oil and a few shaves of aged parmesan cheese. In this case you have three excellent ingredients, each of them working together to make tasty side dish.
Okay, you found some favas and you’re going to make this fava bean recipe. Now what?
What do you serve them with?
You can have them as a little pre-dinner snack on their own. You can grill up some slices of crusty bread brushed with a bit of olive oil and make bruschetta. You can make some grilled meats, like Grilled Lamb Chops or Herb Marinated Chicken Wings or Grilled Pork Tenderloin. You could hold onto that crusty bread and whip up a vegetable gratin. So many ideas!
Just remember – fava beans aren’t quick, but they are worth it. Say that to yourself as many times as you need while you’re peeling them.
– Happy Eating, Annemarie
Fresh Fava Bean and Parmesan Salad
- 1 lb fava beans in their pods
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 oz parmesan cheese
- kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
- 1/2 lemon
- 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 by pinching them a little bit to get the skin to split open. If the skins aren't breaking open easily for you, slit the skins with a paring knife as needed.
- Gently toss the fava beans with olive oil. Then shave parmesan cheese over the top with a vegetable peeler. Sprinkle on the kosher salt (or some nice sea salt) and pepper. Finally, squeeze just a bit of lemon juice over it all.