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Food

Farmers market report: Fava beans are in season. Here are 9 recipes

Fresh fava beans

Fava beans at the farmers market.

(David Karp )

What’s in season: Known for their vibrant color and buttery, almost earthy notes, favas are one of the most prized beans of spring — and one of the most high-maintenance. Fava beans need to be shucked to remove the thick-skinned pod and frequently require 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 may be an undertaking, but the results are worth it.

What to cook: Fava beans can be used both cooked and raw, lending rich, nutty flavors to salads, pastas and rice dishes. Saute the beans with a little 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, the beans 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: Though tomatoes are more of a summer buy, they’re already showing up at many farmers markets. If purchasing, look for smaller grape or cherry tomatoes, which ripen earlier than larger varieties.

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FAVA BEAN SALAD WITH MINT, BURRATA AND PISTACHIOS

Total time: 20 minutes, plus about 1 hour for shucking and peeling the favas | Serves 6

4 pounds fava beans in pod
Olive oil
1/3 cup chopped green onion (green part only)
1 teaspoon lemon zest

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1/2 cup white wine
Salt
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
2 (4-ounce) balls fresh burrata
Freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup chopped toasted pistachios

1. Shuck the beans into a work bowl. Cover the beans with boiling water and set aside until cool enough to handle. Cut a nick in the bottom of the skin of each bean with your thumbnail and squeeze the inside beans from the skin. You should have 2 1/2 to 3 cups fava beans.

2. In a large skillet, heat one-fourth cup olive oil over medium heat and add the green onion and lemon zest. Add the fava beans, the white wine and 1 teaspoon salt, and simmer until the beans are just tender, about 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the mint and cool until ready to serve.

3. When ready to serve, mound the favas on a plate. Cut each burrata ball into quarters and arrange them over the top. Season the burrata with a little more salt and freshly ground pepper, and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Scatter the chopped pistachios over the top and serve.

Each serving: Calories 321; Protein 14 grams; Carbohydrates 19 grams; Fiber 5 grams; Fat 20 grams; Saturated fat 7 grams; Cholesterol 30 mg; Sugar 2 grams; Sodium 394 mg.

Love cooking as much as I do? Follow me @noellecarter

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