My first experience with fava beans was several years ago when a local farmer with a surplus at the end of the day persuaded me to try them by slashing the price. He admitted most people have no idea what to do with or how to prepare the fleeting spring bean. He then offered how he likes to enjoy the delicious little green gems. Ever since I came home with a large bag that evening, I've continued to reach for them as soon as they hit the markets.
The thing about favas is that you basically have to double shell them (which some people find grueling). First you peel back the outer pod, similar to a regular legume's outer shell. Inside you'll see thick, almost padded-like walls and pale green little beans attached. Pull out the beans and discard the pods. The you slightly steam them, making it easier to remove next layer. Once cool enough to handle, slip off the pale green skin and inside you will find the most vibrant beautiful green beans---it'll take some restraint to not pop one after the other into your mouth! Alternately, you can grill the favas in their pods and then slip off their outer skin layer.
In this recipe, I combine the creamy, buttery flavor of fava beans with spicy radishes and a bright balsamic marinade. Served over millet and topped with cilantro pesto and thinly shaved carrots, I couldn't ask for a better summer meal.
Marinated Fava Beans and Radishes with Millet
Serves 2 to 3
1 cup fresh shelled fava beans
1/2 bunch radishes, quartered (about 1 cup)
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon honey
2-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pinch red pepper flakes
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh chives
1 cup millet, rinsed
Thinly sliced peeled carrots, to serve
1 bunch cilantro
1/3 cup raw almonds
2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
1. Place the fava beans, radishes, vinegar, oil, honey, cloves, rosemary, salt, and red pepper flakes into a bowl and let marinate at least 1 hour. Stir in the chives just before serving.
2. Meanwhile prepare the millet and pesto. In a saucepan, bring millet, 2 cups water, and a pinch salt to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 20 minutes, or until the water is absorbed. Set aside and let cool slightly.
3. Pulse cilantro, almonds, garlic, and lemon juice in a food processor to break everything down. With machine running, drizzle in oil. Season with salt and pepper.
4. To serve, top the millet with the marinated favas and radishes, a drizzle of cilantro pesto, and shaved carrots.
For more recipes using millet and more healthy whole grains, head here.