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Stew, pasta, salad and more great recipes featuring fava beans, now in season

Stew, pasta, salad and more great recipes featuring fava beans, now in season
Fava beans for sale at the Santa Monica farmers market. (Noelle Carter / Los Angeles Times)

What's in season: One of the most prized beans of spring, favas are known for their buttery, earthy notes and vibrant green hue. And for being one of the most high-maintenance of the season's offerings. Favas generally need to be shucked twice — once to remove the thick-skinned pod, plus a second peeling to remove the tough outer skin around each bean. When all the work is done, a pound of whole favas might yield only one-third to one-half cup of beans. Favas might be an undertaking, but the results are worth it. You can generally find the beans through the spring months.

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What to cook: Fava beans are terrific either cooked or raw; they lend rich, nutty flavors to salads, pastas and rice dishes. Sauté the beans with oil and garlic, or serve them creamed with a touch of tarragon. If you can find younger beans, or ones that don't have white individual skins, they don't have to be shucked a second time before using. Or you can just grill whole young fava pods and let your guests do the work.

What's on the horizon: More tomatoes are showing up, as are tender new potatoes in a variety of colors.

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