In the last couple days, I’ve experienced one of those funny swirls of coincidence that crop up sometimes: we received fava beans in our mystery produce box; before I could cook them, we happened to eat some grilled at a local restaurant; the next day, my email update from Heidi Swanson’s 101 Cookbooks blog offered a recipe for grilled fava beans.
The universe was telling me to grill fava beans.
However the grill, which turned out to be out of propane, was telling me to do something else with them.
Tony reminded me that roasting is a fine substitute for grilling, so that is what I did. You lose that nice smoky flavor that the grill imbues, but the beans are still incredibly tasty. Almost as important, this method of cooking the beans takes the effort of shucking and peeling the beans out of the kitchen (or wherever you prep your food) and onto the dining room table (or wherever you gather to eat). Prepping raw fava beans can be pretty labor intensive (shucking, blanching, peeling), and while it’s certainly something you can do with your kids, or delegate to them entirely, when my kids do it, they wind up eating all the beans raw and not leaving me any to cook. So this gets the cooking done fast, and then whatever’s left over of the roasted beans can be pureed into a delicious spread or thrown into a salad, a pasta or a risotto.
Preheat the oven to 425. Rinse the fava beans and spread them out on a roasting pan with a generous splash of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and maybe some hot pepper flakes, to taste.
Roast, stirring once, for 10 to 15 minutes, or until they are blistered and tender. Toss them into a bowl and eat. We found them so tender (and the roasted skins so salty and delicious) that we ate them pods and all, but you can also pop the beans out, of course, and just eat those.