Monday, August 1, 2011

Fava Bean Puree

Does anyone really think of fava beans without thinking of Hannibal Lecter? Well, hand me a glass of nice chianti, because these lovelies are in season. But fava beans are one of the many veggies that I get in my box of organic produce that at first cause excitement and then distress. I simply don't know what to do with them. If you are in the same position, I hope this fava bean puree piques your interest.

Make no mistake, fava beans are a bit labor intensive to get into the pot. They need to be shelled from their exterior pod, and then each individual bean must be removed from its waxy shell. Parboiling helps to make quick work of that. If you have a friend to chat with while shelling, then you'll be surprised how quickly the time goes.

We used the rather small amount of beans that were in my produce box. The resulting amount of puree was very small -- enough to spread on about 8 thin slices of baguette. (It was a perfect appetizer for Sarah, myself, and our husbands!) It would easily double, so if you find yourself with a pound of favas, give that a try.

Fava Bean Puree

adapted from Alice Waters' In the Green Kitchen

  • 1/2 lb fava beans in their pods
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tbs water
  • salt
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme, minced

1. Remove the beans from their outer pods.

2. Parboil the beans for 30 seconds to loosen the shell, and then use your thumbnail to tear the skin at one end, then squeeze to pop out the bean.

3. Heat olive oil in saucepan and add beans, water, and a pinch of salt. Cook gently for 15 minutes or so, until beans are very soft. Add the garlic and thyme and cook a couple minutes longer.

4. Mash the beans with a mortar and pestle. Taste and add more salt or olive oil as needed. Makes only about 1/3 cup or so; recipe doubles easily.


  1. This sounds lovely and about all I can manage in this heat! I've always gone middle eastern with these beans so thyme will be a nice change. I'm with you on the labour intensiveness though!!

  2. My mom always does a plot if these when she is rotating crops. I guess they are really good for fixing nitrogen in the soil. So I'll look forward to this recipe when they show up on her garden. The picture of the beans coming out of the pod is gorgeous!

  3. It's funny that I got my first box of organic farm to doorstep fruit and vegetables a few days ago and it contained fava beans. I'm thinking what the heck am I going to do with those. Enter the internet. I will try this recipe - which is the Alice Waters method - this evening. Thanks!


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