Sunday, July 26, 2009

Fava Beans Redux

Having used up the last of the fava beans on a delicious and pretty Shrimp and Fava Sautee over Couscous, I am definietly going to grow some more of them next year.

Growing a garden is a learning experience and here are the things I learned about Fava Beans.

  1. They are really TALL. So don't plant them in front of other plants. My poor pepper plants that were behing the wall of favas didn't get the sun they needed so as a result, I am nursing two Italian Sweet Pepper plants that have a total of 3 peppers.
  2. They are really TALL. You'd better plan on staking them up before they get too and flop over because
  3. The bean pods are HUGE.

Everything I read talked about the tedious process of shelling and preparing the beans. Really? It wasn't that bad. Sure, it takes some time, but then again so does anything worthwhile. And believe me they are definitely worthwhile.

Fava Beans and Shrimp over Couscous

  • Poached Shrimp
  • 2 Cups Prepared Favas
  • Roma Tomatoes Chopped
  • French Shallots Chopped
  • Garlic Cloves Minced
  • Fresh Tarragon Minced
  • Romano or Parmesan Cheese
  • Kosher Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper

You might notice, there are not any actual ingredient measurements? Wing it!

Prepare the couscous according to package directions. This will take hardly any time and while the pasta is sitting covered you can whip up the following.

Sautee the garlic and shallots over low heat in a bit of olive oil until they become limp and translucent. Turn up the heat at bit and toss in the favas and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle on the minced tarragon and add the tomatoes. Continue to stir and toss in the sautee pan until the tomatoes begin to become slightly limp. Add the shrimp and continue just until they become warm. Do not over cook.

Top the dish with some shaved slivers of cheese and add more salt and pepper to taste.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Fava Beans Sautee

Fava Beans are a success. See my posting below:

It is so satisfying to be able to create a meal or side dish with fresh ingredients that you have grown yourself. With the exception of the tomatoes, which are not yet ripe and the olive oil which I conveniently buy at Costo and didn't press myself or the Asiago Romano Cheese from Costco (the best I have ever found), the ingredients come from my own garden.

/pats self on the back


  • 3 cups of prepared fava beans (I tell you how below)
  • 1 whole large french shallot, chopped (not minced)
  • 3 coarsely chopped roma tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp fresh minced tarragon
  • 2 cloves minced elephant garlic
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • shaved slivers of Asiago/Romano cheese

To prepare the beans: Plan on this taking some time. First pour yourself a glass of wine to sip on while shelling the bean pods. A nice Chianti? Or in my case a chilled Gew├╝rztraminer. Split the bean pods apart and place the beans in a large bowl. This is actually kind of neat. The insides of the bean pods are fuzzy and white, almost like the beans have been lovingly encased in soft cotton.

Meanwhile start a pot of water, liberally salted with Kosher salt to boil. Once you have shell the beans put them into the boiling water and simmer at a low boil for about 4 to 5 minutes. Scoop the beans out of the boiling water and dump them into a large bowl full of ice water. This will shock the beans and stop the cooking. Let the beans cool.

Fava beans have a very tough skin covering the delicate green bean inside. To shell them, just pinch off a section of the tough sking and gently squeeze the inside bean into a bowl. They should just slip right out. If you moosh a bean or two. No them while you are shelling the rest.

At this point, you can freeze the beans like Lima Beans are done in the grocery store or set aside covered in plastic wrap for maybe a day in the fridge. But the best way is to cook them immediately.

Preparing the dish: This part goes really fast. Coat a small sautee pan with a tbsp or so of olive oil and over medium low heat slowly cook the shallots and garlic until it is soft and slightly caramelized. Turn the heat up a bit and toss in the beans and tarragon. Toss them around in the pan. Maybe do a few Emeril Lagasse flips of the pan and contents to show off. Season with Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Throw in the chopped tomatoes and stir/flip the contents of the pan over medium heat until the tomatoes start to wilt.

Serve with some shaved slivers of cheese on top of the warm beans.

Very pretty with the red and green coloring. Tasty. I served these as a side dish to some sauteed Red Snapper with a fresh green salad and warm french bread.

Growing Fava Beans

  • This year we really got cracking on our vegetable garden. The Dumbplumber, at my constant urging or nagging as he would say, put in some great raised beds. 6 beds that are 4 feet by 8 feet by 24 inches high and spaced just wide enough to run the wheel barrow through. We lined them with chicken wire on the bottoms and up the sides and then installed 1 inch PVC pipe at intervals along the sides before filling with dirt. This was so that I could use smaller size PVC and make hoops over the beds.

    Because it is cold here in the spring time due to the elevation, it is very hard to plant early. With the hoops running the length of the bed and covered with plastic it creates a tunnel/greenhouse to get an early start on planting. The other advantage is that to discourage the birds and deer, we covered the hoops with deer netting to keep the critters from gobbling up all of the young shoots.

There is no point in planting things that you can easily and cheaply get at the local grocery store. So, I try to plant things that are unusual or that are good trading stock with other local gardeners. This year I had a great crop of French Shallots (which are very expensive) and Elephant garlic. I'm trading with a friend who has a lot of Torpedo and Sweet Walla Walla onions. Yum Yum.

This was the first year that I had grown Fava Beans, so I didn't plant to many, as I wasn't sure if we were even going to like them. Picking the last of the crop today at lunch, we are planning to have them with dinner tonight.

Probably something with Garlic, Shallots, Lemon, Thyme (which I also grew) and shaved Assiago Cheese. If they are a success, next year I'll plant a LOT more as they were probably the easiest thing I have ever grown in the garden.

Next year I will be urging (nagging) my husband to put ground cloth and gravel between the planting beds to keep the mud and weeds down. I'm sure he is really looking forward to it. :-D