12 July 2013

Fava beans are in!

...actually, I believe they're on their way out; it's usually the end of the season when my ghetto natural food store starts to carry things.  Fava beans are common in Mediterranean cuisine, and they're also a popular snack sold roasted and coated in neon-red chili powder and "lime" flavoring at my neighborhood panaderia. I'd never tried them before, but their similarity in appearance to lima beans (which I have hated since childhood) turned me off.  Well, that and the supposed terror of preparing them.  But you know what?  They're really not difficult to make, and they are DELICIOUS!  Bright and zingy, these beans cook up tender and mild enough to compliment just about anything.  I kept it simple with this dish to keep from drowning them in other flavors.

Don't eat the outer skin!  Yuck. 

My tip for removing the beans form their skins is written into the directions; here is another nifty discussion on the topic.  Don't avoid them; they are so worth the little bit of extra effort! You can eat this simple rice dish alongside grilled fish or chicken, but I gobbled up a double portion for lunch and didn't miss the carcass.

I also use kitchen shears to speed up the scallion slicing.

Fava Beans and Rice

Serves 4 as a side

1 pound fava beans, shelled
1 cup jasmine rice
2 scallions, sliced (white and green parts)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon olive oil
6 fresh mint leaves, chiffonaded
Salt and black pepper to taste

Cook the rice in salted water according to package directions.

In the meantime, boil fava beans in salted water for 2 minutes.  Drain in a colander and, when cool enough to touch, slip out of their outer skins.  (I like to pierce the skin with a pairing knife, then peel it away while also squeezing out the inner bean.)

When rice is done, place in a serving bowl and stir in the fava beans, garlic, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste.  Drizzle with the olive oil and scatter scallions and chopped mint on top.  Serve hot or room temperature.

And I added a fried egg on top!