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Charred Fava Beans

charred fava

Charred Fava Beans with Smoked Sea Salt means it must be spring.

I typically harken the spring each year with a post featuring fava beans. Fava beans have a reputation as being difficult. The choosing. The shucking. The tedious last step of peeling off the tough outer skin from each and every fava bean. All of this before you even begin to cook.

I feel your fava fear and want to let you in on a secret. You can skip all those steps and go straight to cooking if you want to. Who says you can’t cook them while still in the pod? Or at least some of them.

The nice thing about the early season fava beans is that most of the pods are still quite young. So you know they hold dainty little favas. The younger the fava the better tasting these in the pod charred fava beans will be. Partly because the starches have not developed, but also because the tough skins that encase each bean will be thinner. So much thinner that I don’t usually bother to peel them. I just pop them in my mouth.

Which brings me to the inspiration for these charred fava beans. I don’t know about you, but I find edamame in the pods to be completely addicting. Slightly salty and steamy hot, I just can’t stop myself when they’re set out before me. I lent that same idea to fava beans in their pods. They’re charred in a pan, which steams them to barely cooked perfection. It’s easy to to slit the pod open and pop the bean into your mouth. The char on the outsides subtly flavors the delicate bean on the inside.

I’ve finished them with a drizzle of olive oil and a good sprinkle of smoked sea salt. Which further enhances the silky, smoky, salty tingle that you’ll lick from your lips as well as your fingertips. GREG

charred fava beans

Charred Fava Bean Pods with Smoked Sea Salt

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 2–4Source Inspired by Chris CosentinoPublished

*Choose very young, early spring favas in the pods that are no more than 3 to 4 inches long. Feel the pods and try and choose only those with favas inside that appear to be no more than ½‑inch. These baby fava beans can be eaten without bothering to remove the skin. Of course you can use larger favas for this recipe, but you might want to remove the tough skin just before you pop one in your mouth.

By the way, the pods are edible. Especially when they are young and tenders. So take a nibble and see what you think.

fava bean pods

Ingredients

  • 1 pound baby fava beans, in pods (see notes*)
  • cooking spray (as needed)
  • ¼ cup fresh mint leaves (loosely packed)
  • smoked sea salt (to taste)
  • very good extra-virgin olive oil (for drizzling)

Directions

Snip the ends of each fava bean pod to create an escape for the steam that will build up inside the pods during cooking.

Heat a large cast iron skillet over high heat. Once the skillet gets very hot, lightly spray the bottom with cooking spray. Place the fava bean pods into the skillet in as close to a single layer as possible. Let the pods cook until lightly charred on one side, be careful not to let them burn however. Turn the pods and cook them on the other side. Add the mint leaves at this point, letting them come into conatact with the skillet wherever possible until lightly charred.

Watch the fava bean pods carefully as the char, they will begin to inflate from the steam inside. As soon as they begin to deflate and become a bit limp, shake the skillet and remove it from the heat; season liberally with smoked sea salt. Serve either straight from the skillet or transfer them to a warm platter, drizzling them with a bit of olive oil. Encourage people to eat the fava beans straight from the pods with their hands “edamame style”.