Fava Bean Puree
Fava Bean Puree_web

This recipe is from one of my favorite cookbooks, Vegetables Every Day by Jack Bishop. Each chapter is devoted to a different vegetable and features basic and unusual recipes and preparation techniques for each. It is a perfect cookbook for this time of year when you just buy whatever looks good at the farmers market and worry about what you’ll do with it later.

I’ve been making this recipe ever since I bought my first fava bean. Admittedly, fava beans are not available everywhere, but if you are lucky enough to have access to them in late spring/early summer buy them! Just make sure that you sort through each bean pod by hand, only picking the ones who have plump beans within. Yes, favas take awhile to prepare, but they are so worth it – especially this recipe which you just want to slather on anything you can find. Crostini really work best though.

2 lbs. fresh fava beans, shelled – approx. 2 cups
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
2 medium shallots, minced
salt

Bring several quarts of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the shelled fava beans and simmer for two minutes. Drain and refresh in a bowl of cold water. Drain again and then use your fingers to scrap away part of the outer light green skin on each fava. Squeeze the skin to pop out the dark green bean. Set the peeled favas aside.

Shucked favas before they are peeled

Shucked favas before they are peeled

Heat the oil in a medium saute pan. Add the shallots and saute over medium heat until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the fava beans and salt to taste. Cook, stirring well to coat the favas with the oil. Add 1/4 cup of water, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cover the pan. Cook, stirring only once or twice, until the beans are tender but not mushy, 3-6 minutes depending on their age.

Place the contents of the pan in a food processor. Pulse, adding more oil as necessary until the favas form a chunky puree. Adjust the seasonings.

The puree can be refrigerated in an airtight container for several days.