Thursday, May 31, 2012

Thankful Thursday - Fava Beans

Last weekend, I was lucky enough to visit the farmer's market with my family.  When I go to school in New York, I always forget the great variety of fruits and vegetables that really exist.  The majority of my food shopping is done in mainstream grocery stores, which offer your basics.  Among the conventional produce will sit the depressed-looking organic fruits, typically older and pricier than the conventional, as though they had an inferiority complex for being sustainably grown.  Inevitably, I either buy the conventional or fewer of the organic, put off by the higher price (college student paying tuition, thanks) and the clear signs of a tired, bumpy truck ride across many states.  The situation is such that whenever I do manage to visit a farmer's market, I am thoroughly grateful.  

Among our purchases that day were strawberries, a wonderful sheep's milk cheese, vegetables and these lovely, huge fava beans.  I had never had them fresh before.  They're called broad beans sometimes, which is the label on the packages of fried fava beans you can find in Oriental markets.  They're a tasty snack, but my mum calls them yeet hay, or "hot air."  Basically, it means that they're dry and salty, very yang in the scheme of things, and generally not great for you, nutritionally speaking.  However, they're crunchy, salty, substantial, and delicious.  These beans, however, I bought at the farmer's market to shell and cook by myself.  As you can see, the inside is a soft fuzz, caressing each spring green bean gently and firmly.

They were a lot of fun to open, but then, we had bought less than a pound.

I liked the crisp snap of the bean as it broke apart, reluctantly yielding its treasure.  The beans, after all, are seeds, the intended next generation of the fava bean plant.  I boiled water with a healthy pinch of salt, then added the shelled beans and let them cook for 5 minutes.  I then fished them out of the pot and tossed them into a hot pan with some salted butter.  The salted butter definitely added to the flavor, which was mild.  The beans were very soft, and if I cook them again, I might reduce cooking time to 3 
minutes.  In the end, though, I can clearly declare that I do like fava beans :)

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