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Choosing and using fava beans

Fine Cooking Issue 45
Photos: Holly Stewart
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Favas are fleshy, broad beans; although they may remind you of lima beans in looks, they’re less starchy and fuller flavored. Choose firm, brightly colored pods that show bumps from the beans inside. Except when very young (a half inch or smaller), shelled favas need a quick blanching so their outer skin can be removed for further cooking: Dunk shucked beans in boiling water for a minute or two, drain, plunge them into an ice bath, slip off the skins, and proceed with your recipe. Stir fava beans into a spring lamb stew, or simmer a vegetable ragoût of favas, shallots, artichoke hearts, asparagus and fresh herbs. Sauté favas in a little olive oil, then purée with garlic and more olive oil, and smear on toast or serve as a side dish.

First, shuck the fava beans from their pods, then blanch briefly in boiling water. 
Use your thumbnail to pierce only the skin, then slip the bean from its skin.


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