Fava and Fennel, Forget the Chianti!

A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti.– Hannibal Lector

I know, not a very appetizing way to begin a recipe post! But every time I hear  “fava beans”, my mind instantly goes to that movie quote from Silence of the Lambs. Don’t worry this recipe does not require cannibalism by any means.  It does require some patience as fava beans do have a bit of a tough exterior which can make them a little more difficult to get to know on a personal level.  But like anything, in the end, it’s worth the extra effort and I’m confident that once you break through their “layers”, you’ll find a treasure inside to add to your family’s vegetable repertoire.

1 lb fava beans
1 fennel bulb or Texas sweet onion, thinly sliced
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 T extra virgin olive oil
1/2 T butter
grated Parmesan or Manchego cheese

Carmelized Fennel or Onion

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat in a skillet and add fennel or onion and cover.  This will cook while you are preparing the fava beans, so you’ll need to stir it occasionally and you may need to adjust the heat so that it doesn’t get too browned.

Fava Beans Shelled

Fava Beans – Removed from the outer pod

Fava Beans

Remove the beans from the pods.  I like to steam them, but you can also boil them as well in about 2 cups of water with salt.  Normally, I don’t salt anything, but these need to be cooked in salted water.  Cook or steam over boiling salted water for about 1 minute.  Drain them and put them into an ice water bath to stop the cooking for approximately 2 minutes, drain again and then slip off the outer shells.  (At this point, you can use the fava beans in a multitude of recipes from dips (like hummus), to salads and soups and sautes.)

Fava Beans from Underwood Family Farms

Favas with the outer shells removed, sauteing in butter, olive oil and garlic.

Over medium heat in a skillet, melt together the 1/2 tablespoon butter and olive oil, then add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute.  Add fava beans and sauté for an additional 5-6 minutes.  Season with fresh ground pepper and more sea salt (optional) add some grated Parmesan or Manchego cheese, top with carmelized fennel.

Fava Beans with Carmelized Fennel

If you really want some wine with your Favas – try a nice Chardonnay or Pinot Noir!

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