A Pain in the Ass, A Pleasure in the Stomach

Fava Bean Spread

I’ve heard about these suckers for a very long time. Raves. Raves. Raves. And as diligent as I am in eating what’s in season, I sometimes miss very short-seasoned produce. But this time around, in what one vendor labeled as the last available weekend, I scored a quart of fava beans.

Lord these beans take a lot of work. I didn’t follow a recipe, just the quick advice Mt. Pleasant Farmers’ Market manager Rebbie called out to me before 80P and I schlept back to our apartment.

She commanded that the process required 2 beers and a friend. One beer for releasing the beans from the pod and the next for releasing the bean from its skin. Because of my bachelorette party induced hangover, I skipped the beers but still persuaded 80 to be my friend in the process.

Fava Bean Spread 1 (500 x 332)

Sesame Enhanced Fava Bean Puree

First I took the fava beans out of the pod. After the de-podding, I boiled the beans for a minute and a half, shocked them, and then removed the skins. A not difficult, but slightly annoying process, especially as waves of hangover fell upon me. In case you’re wondering why I’m going through this multi-step process on what should have been a lazy weekend afternoon, it is because I wanted to bring a snack for the World Cup watching party.

Anyway, once the beans were prepared I tossed them around in a hot pan that contained oil infused with smashed garlic and crushed red pepper flakes. Sprinkled with salt and pepper.

In a small food processor add the beans and garlic, making sure to scrape all of the flavored oil into the processor as well, pour in more oil, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.

The mixture won’t be smooth like hummus, more textured and segmented. You could stop there, but I wanted to make it funky. I decided to stir (not process) in some Asian flavors: sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, chopped spring onions (green part only) and toasted sesame seeds. Top with coarse sea salt.

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  • 80 Proof July 13, 2010  

    I was honestly expecting more challenging work, but it was just sort of tedious. I’d imagine if you were cooking a big batch, this would become a real pain in the ass. The result looked like lima beans, and that scared me, but the taste was nothing like it.

  • JoeHoya July 13, 2010  

    We LOVE fava beans and make it a point to buy them in bulk during their all-too-brief season at the farmers’ market.

    But the prep is definitely a pain in the ass. Elizabeth refers to favas as the Beans of Diminishing Returns because you buy them by weight and then promptly through out half of what you paid for in the form of the outer and inner pods.

  • Alex July 13, 2010  

    Fun medical fact of the day: when paired with medications known as monoamine oxidase inhibitors, or MAOIs, a type of antidepressant, fava beans can cause your blood pressure to shoot up and send you into a medical crisis. Just FYI.

  • 80 Proof July 13, 2010  

    “Beans of Diminishing Returns” Love it.

  • gansie July 14, 2010  

    good christ @alex. that is scary as shit. do any other vegetables fuck with a body like that?

  • Maids July 14, 2010  

    I loved this. But last time I made fava beans they were brown. I’m confused.

  • erica July 14, 2010  

    ooh, i have a fava plant in the garden for the first time, i am SO excited for fresh beans.

  • Ariell Kirylo October 11, 2011  

    God, I love fava beans. Throw them in a Carbonara. They turn into brilliant little emeralds. But yes, a pain in the ass all the same.

  • MaryAlice June 1, 2012  

    We have/had a 20 foot row of favas, maybe 3 or 4 plants across. It took 2 days to pull all the pods off the plants. It too another three days to depod them. The first batch went into a pasta with bacon. Another batch is now marinating with artichokes, olive oil, lemon juice and zest, mint, black olives. Small ones that we won’t pull out of the second skin will be a salad with lemon juice and olive oil. Large ones we will skin and put in the freezer. I plan to lay them out on a cookie sheet, then put into a bag. Any ideas?
    Growing them is easy unless the deer get them. I overwinter them here in N. California coast. Plant in late summer and harvest now. You need a lot to get a dinner’s worth.

  • Marti April 28, 2013  

    I had a batch of these from our co op and had NO idea what to do with them. I refuse to let any items go bad so today I made this. OMG, I honestly never knew what I was missing! They are work but wow this recipe is delicious, can’t leave it alone. Thanks!!

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