The first time I saw fava bean pods in the grocery store, I did a double take. The pods are large and daunting, and they require specific preparation for use. But look past the pod and the tough cover around each bean, and a delicate, flavorful legume awaits. The beans are a great source of protein, magnesium, iron and fiber. In Oklahoma, fava plants planted in the fall can produce beans in March through May. Look for them to begin arriving in grocery stores then. Fava beans are easily shelled but must be removed from their tough, outer husks. Inside is the bean, which can be prepared in myriad ways.
Fava Bean Dip
- 2-3 lbs. fresh fava beans, shelled (about 2 cups)
- 1 tbsp. salt
- 4 cloves chopped garlic
- olive oil
- 1 tsp. lemon zest
- 2 tbsp. lemon juice
- 1/4 c. or more water
- 5 oz. goat cheese
- kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Remove the outer shell from the fava beans. Bring two quarts of water to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon salt. Add the shelled beans and simmer for five minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove beans from the hot water and place in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and to shock the beans into maintaining their bright green color. When the beans have sunk to the bottom of the bowl of ice water, fish them out and remove and discard the outer peel.
In a small skillet, heat a tablespoon of olive oil on medium. Add the chopped garlic cloves and cook until softened, but not browned, three to four minutes.
Place beans in a food processor with softened garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice and water. Pulse until smooth. Stream in a tablespoon or two more of olive oil while puréeing. Scoop the bean mixture into a bowl. Mix in the goat cheese until well combined. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.