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fava beans

Canned fava beans are ok. The beans are substantial entities. The first time I opened a can I was surprised by their hugeness. I couldn't stand it, actually, so I chopped them up and used them in place of ground beef in a lasagna. That worked out very nicely.

This summer I have been getting some fava bean pods from the farm delivery service. Getting to the edible bean is a lot more involved than opening a can. First, you have a big pod. It is green or greenish brown, usually with brown speckles. Many of the pods also have black moldy-looking raised speckles in varying amounts. Neither color nor size of the pod is a good indicator of the number of beans within, generally from two to four. The pods are lined with dense white fuzz and when you remove the beans they leave their little podprints behind, as if sleepy little beans had just rolled out of bed. There is quite a bit of pod per bean. A pound of unshelled fava beans roughly fills a three-cup bowl and yields about a half-cup of beans. But you're not done at that point.

The beans have a thick skin that is hard to chew through. You need to remove it. Toss the beans in boiling water and let them sit there for a minute. Drain them and pop them out of the skin. The edible bean inside is an astonishing shade of green, really lovely. Cook it however you cook beans, but here is one suggestion:

Heat some olive oil in a pan to medium and add the beans, stirring occasionally for about ten minutes. For the last minute, add some chopped onions or scallions. Turn off the heat, add some lemon juice and dill. Once it has cooled a little, add some plain yogurt. Call it bean salad and serve it room temperature or chilled.



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