I recently did a photo shoot for the most amazing non-profit organization called Schoolyard Farms. While I was there they showed me all of the good green growth that was happening on the one-acre schoolyard farm; it was all incredibly beautiful and inspiring, but what made my heart pitter patter the most were the rows and rows of fava bean plants. Favas are one of my favorite vegetables and because of their short growing season I always make sure to stock up on them when I see them in the market. Seeing them come in at the farm that morning made me realize—it’s finally arrived…fava season is here! Woo hoo!
So, of course, favas were high on my list when I went to the farmers market this weekend. I spotted them almost immediately after walking into the market; their long, green pods practically overflowing from their wooden bins.
I was there with my good friend Lindsay and she laughed as I would take a handful, place it in my bag, and walk to the counter to pay for my goodies. Then I’d look down at the bag and declare that this couldn’t possibly be enough favas. I’d go back and add more beans to the bag and then get back in the check out line. I think I did that three or four times before she finally cut me off, saying that we most definitely had enough for the four people we would be feeding with them. She was right. We had more than enough. (Thanks for cutting me off, Linz! I’d probably be buried under a pile of fava beans right now if it weren’t for you.)
I usually take the more laborious double-peel route of cooking favas, steaming them in their pods, peeling, and then re-steaming again in the shells before de-shelling. But since I’ve been insanely busy lately (read: I don’t have enough patience for this method at the moment), I decided to roast the favas whole today.
The pods are first coated in a garlicky oil and butter mixture. I made mine using purple garlic, mostly because the color was too gorgeous to resist buying at my local co-op. But white garlic works just as well! They’re then roasted in the oven until slightly charred on the outside and cooked through on the inside. You could also do this on a grill for a BBQ, just make sure the heat gets high enough to cook through. When finished, sprinkle with a good course sea salt and enjoy sucking the beans straight out of their pods (no need to peel the shell) and savoring the sweet garlicky goodness that encases them. Sure, it gets a little messy, but who doesn’t love a good mess while they’re eating? That’s half the fun!
Garlicky Roasted Fava Beans
- 2 pounds of fava beans still in their pods
- 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons of butter
- 4-5 cloves of garlic, smashed and chopped roughly (I used purple garlic here, but you can use any kind)
- salt, to taste
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Heat a large skillet, ideally a cast iron one, over medium heat on your stovetop. Add oil and butter to the skillet. Once hot (but not so hot that its smoking), add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Do not let the garlic burn; if it begins to, remove the skillet from the heat until it cools down.
Add fava beans (the whole pod, do not decase them) to the skillet and toss to coat with the garlic butter mixture.
Roast in the oven for 17-22 minutes, or until you notice the pods beginning to get a golden brown color on the top.