It seems like the fava bean is everywhere. Watch Top Chef and you see almost every chef puree it or incorporate it in some way into their dishes. I had heard a lot about the fava bean, but had yet to try it until this week.
I attended orientation at Central Market, my new workplace, last week and while walking around the produce department spotted some fresh fava beans. When I was no longer on the clock I went back to buy a bag determined to use them as soon as possible. Once again (you will see I get on cookbook jags), I was inspired by the Tartine Bread cookbook and their Fava Panzanella. Since I still had some croutons left over from the Kale Caesar I made, I thought this would be a good place to start my fava journey.
Fava beans are encased in big, fat pods (like giant green beans). First you must remove the beans from the pods, then blanch them in boiling water followed by an ice bath, and finally, before adding to the recipe, you need to remove the opaque shell around each bean. This takes a while, so make sure you have some time on your hands (or do it the day before) or have extra help around.
I found this salad to have a great balance of flavors and it was satisfying as a meal in itself (like a salad should be I think).
On a side note, I wanted to give you a quick update on the bread starter (I don’t think it needs its own post yet). It is still trucking along and I am feeding it everyday. The recipe says it is gradually supposed to smell sweeter and almost milky, which it has already started doing. Maybe by this weekend I will be making the bread dough!
Fava Bean Panzanella
Adapted from the Tartine Bread cookbook by Chad Robertson
2 1/2 lbs fresh fava beans, shelled (about 1 cup when shelled)
1/2 of a red onion, sliced thinly
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1-2 cups Croutons
Fresh basil (a handful), torn into big chunks
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
Place the slices of onion in a bowl and pour the vinegar over them. Let stand for 30 minutes, stirring often. The onions will soften slightly and take on a pink hue.
Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil. Fill a bowl with ice water and place near the stove. Add the fava beans to the boiling water and cook for 1 minute. Drain and transfer to the ice water to cook. Peel the opaque outer layer from each bean.
In a serving bowl, combine beans, croutons, and basil. Remove onions from vinegar and add to the bowl as well
Make the vinaigrette. In a small bowl, stir together the lemon zest and juice, sugar and olive oil until combined well. Season to taste with salt. Pour vinaigrette over the salad and toss. Let sit for about a minute before serving to allow the croutons to absorb some of the vinaigrette.