I love many vegetables. Most vegetables, even. But I do not love fava beans.
Sure, they’re the color of springtime. And at their best, they do taste like something that color green should taste. But they are so much work. (Every year around this time, someone acts like it’s a new idea to grill whole fava beans, but that can’t really work. Does that really work?)
So I only cook fava beans when they appear in my CSA box. One or two pounds can be manageable if you have half an hour to kill: string the pods and pull them open, push out the beans with your thumb, simmer them for a few minutes, drain and run them under cold water, then peel the bean-skin from each and every individual bean.
Then see if you find yourself admiring the fava’s color and flavor, or if you find yourself vowing to just steam some broccoli next time. If you forget your vow and find yourself with another pound of favas, though, this recipe is one of my favorites.
Fava Bean and Arugula Bean Crostini: Shell about a pound of fava beans and simmer the beans in salted water for 3-4 minutes, until tender. Drain, run under cold water, then pinch each bean from its skin, discarding skins and placing beans in the bowl of your food processor. Pulse the machine a few times to break up the favas, then add 1/4 c. olive oil, a big handful of arugula, a regular handful of grated Parmesan, the juice and zest of a lemon and 1/2 tsp. salt. Process into a puree, tasting and adjusting the flavors to your liking. Finely chop another big handful of arugula and stir the chopped arugula into the green puree. Spread onto baguette slices that have been drizzled with olive oil and salt and toasted under the broiler for a minute or two.