April 14, 2021
I plant fava beans in our vegetable garden every winter for a spring harvest. They are not only versatile in a myriad of dishes and taste great, but the plants also help boost nitrogen in the soil, something that the summer tomatoes and other nightshades take with greed.
With this current yield, I have been making fava bean mash for crackers, adding them to pasta with arugula pesto, and tossing them into soups (pozoles, I’m looking at you). Did you know you can also eat the greens and the flowers from the stalks of the plant? Hmm, maybe a fava green salad with blood oranges and walnuts is in our future. A lot of people choose not to grow or eat fava beans because they can be a challenge to prepare—they require peeling not once, but twice, to get to the most tender part of the bean. However, our favorite way to eat the beans (no, not with a fine Chianti) is to simply grill them as an appetizer, pods and all.
I look at daylight savings as “opening day” day for grilling season. Fire up the grill, lay a handful of fava bean pods over the flame and you’re halfway to the most delicious, and simplest, of appetizers.
The best part—the laborious peeling becomes social and fun. We gather around the platter and peel the beans out of the pods, and then out of their shells. Sprinkle the beans with flaky sea salt, which adds great seasoning and texture, and pop ‘em in your mouth.
There’s a small window to get these beauties, so if you didn’t grow them be sure to look for them at the farmers market on Saturday.
Harvesting tip: Not sure when you should harvest your beans? They should be at least the width of your thumb before you pluck and eat them. Whatever pods don’t get polished off fresh, I let dry on the stalks and collect the seeds for planting next year.
Heat your grill to medium heat. Once hot, place fava bean pods directly on the grill. When pods begin to establish solid char marks turn over using tongs. The fava beans will cook within the pod during the charring process. Remove with tongs to a platter to cool and serve with a side of flaky sea salt (try Jacobson or Maldon). Peel the beans out of the pods, then peel the beans out of their shells a second time. Sprinkle favas with flaky sea salt for seasoning and texture and pop ‘em into your mouth.