grilled fava beans

fava beans do not need chianti or liver to be enjoyed ::::

Beyond the tomato bushes, this recipe is yet another highlighting the bounty of produce we’ve received in the last week.  When I spotted fava beans in the garden, I knew they were going to end up in my already-brimming basket. At that point, I had never cooked fava beans, nor did I ever remember eating them. The only impression they’ve made on me is from the psycho-thriller Silence of the Lambs , when psycho-psychiatrist gone cannibal Hannibal Lecter speaks of enjoying fava beans with Chianti and, well…something I would never want to try.



Speaking of off the meat, this recipe is from another near-neighbor (in San Fran!) and vegetarian Heidi Swanson from 101 Cookbooks. If you haven’t visited her website or indulged yourself in her books (where have you been? ), you will be inspired and wish you lived midst year-round farmers’ markets aplenty. She has built an impressive collection of flavorful vegetarian and whole grain recipes online and her books are better researched, written, and accessible than most sources.



And what Heidi does, she does well, even if it is a simple vegetable grill. Since I don’t have a grill, I used a heavy skillet, high heat, and an open window to mitigate the kitchen smoke (and use of the smoke detector). I loved the creamy, smoky, salty flavor of these beans, different from any other beans I’ve tasted before. And primitive: it’s smoky food, no silverware, and smokiness and salt licked from your fingers between each bean. Primitive does not necessarily mean creepy psychokiller, thankfully.


pan 'grilled' fava beans
Recipe type: vegetable
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
  • 1 pound fava beans, in shells
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • optional: fresh herbs, red pepper flakes, lemon zest
  1. Coat beans in olive oil and generously sprinkle with salt.
  2. Heat a large skillet on high heat and add beans (don't overcrowd -- you may need to do in batches). I covered my pan and turned the heat down slightly when the pan started to smoke.
  3. Cook until blistered and blackened on one side, about 4 minutes. Flip to other side and cook for another 4 minutes.
  4. To check for doneness (smooth and creamy), pop a bean out of its pod and slipper to taste. They will steam in their pods for a few minutes after cooking, too.
  5. Add more salt if needed, and herbs or lemon zest if using. Eat when cool enough to handle (but still warm). To eat: squeeze out a fava, then pinch it from its slipper. Heidi recommends eating one at a time and to lick your fingers.


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