I grabbed a handful of fava beans from the bin of my local farm stand specifically because I had a memory of somebody else doing something neat with them.
I myself had no idea what to do with them.
But if Emily loved fava beans, then surely I would love fava beans.
We lived next door to Emily and her family for a while more than 10 years ago, but she left a large impression on me. A scholar on Moroccan Jewry who spoke several Levantine languages, Emily was also a stylish blonde who collected art and books and had a bad eBay couture habit. She had this graceful insouciance in the kitchen that drove me mad with envy. She could whip up a beautiful impromptu dinner party without breaking a sweat, serving it out on colorful Moroccan crockery. She was the one who gave me the rosemary red soup recipe, and once produced an onion tart from scratch with so little effort it became my (still unrealized) culinary aspiration.
Skinny bitch. I pretty much worshipped her.
I recall her sitting at her tiny table before a mountain of fava beans, shucking them patiently. Why would she go through such an effort, I wondered.
“I just love fava beans,” she told me. “I ate them every day in Morocco. They’re so delicious…”
It was with just this in mind that I grabbed my handful of favas. But when I emailed Emily to ask for her recipe, she wrote back, “Oh, you know, just a little garlic and olive oil and some thyme…”
In other words, no recipe. In other words, if you are sophisticated and well-traveled, you’ll know what to do with fava beans. In other words, Julie, YOU will have to GOOGLE it. And didn’t your thyme plant just die recently in your weedy backyard herb planter?
In other words, here I was with a handful of fava beans and no real idea of what to do with them. So I Googled how to prepare them.
Because before you do anything with them, you have to prepare them. It’s a lot of work, fava beans. You have to shuck them, THEN steam them…
Some reports say only a minute or two. I did five. The little beans went shrively and the bigger ones still required a knife to peel.
Oh yeah, you have to peel them after you steam them. TWO steps. Before you even get to the cooking part.
In the end, because I had so few fava beans, I went ahead and sauteed them in some garlic and olive oil. No thyme, but some sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
And they were pretty tasty. Buttery. Nice. But I’m sure if Emily had made them for me it would have been some kind of crazy awesome mouth experience. Maybe when I see her next week…
Stay tuned. In the meantime, tell me what you like to do with your favas…