Big Bean, Little Bean

One of my most favorite legumes is fava beans (a.k.a broad beans), and I just can’t get enough of these guys. Sautéed with garlic & olive oil or whizzed up into a hummus, they’re super tasty anyway you cook them. I happened to find some first-crops this past weekend, so this meant I could try my hand at a dish I had recently enjoyed at a new restaurant. The favas I picked up were not necessarily stunners on the outside, but on the inside– pristine, firm beans and good size for their pods. I’m growing favas in my garden this year (so excited!) which have sprouted to about 8 inches tall already. It will be a long while yet before they mature, but these local favas will tide me over just fine.
edamame & fava beans

Another favorite is edamame or soybeans. These little beans are packed with protein and are such a great snack to munch on. Throw on a little Citrus Salt, and there you go. Quick food that’s good for you. So when the menu featured a dish with both of these beans together, along with crispy pancetta tossed with a hint of lemon zest….well, no-brainer there. And it was amazing. The simplest of ingredients cooked to perfection…in pancetta drippings no less–TDF! This combination of flavors is satisfying and very moreish. Not going to lie, there may have been some finger-dipping into the bottom of the bowl going on before the bread arrived…..sshh, don’t tell anyone ;>). Here’s my attempt to recreate the recipe so you all can enjoy these bosom bean buddies any time the mood strikes.

fava beans and edamame
You can buy frozen fava beans, but when you can get fresh–there’s nothing like it. For those who have not cooked fresh favas before, there’s a little work involved to reach the prized creamy bean inside. None of the steps are hard, and the effort is well worth it. First, you’ll need to remove the large bean from the outer pod. Simply run your thumb down the length of the pod to spread it open. The beans can be pushed out with your fingers. Then put the beans into a large pot of boiling & salted water for about 30-45 seconds, or until all the beans have floated to the top. Drain the beans under cold water and allow to cool slightly before handling them. To remove the bean’s outer skin, simply pinch open the top of the outer layer and then squeeze the soft bean out with your thumb & fingers. It should just pop right out.

Edamame, Fava Bean & Crispy Pancetta Side
yields 2 servings | printable version

1/2 pound pancetta, thick cut piece
1/2 cup cooked & shelled edamame beans
1/2 cup cooked & shelled fava beans
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1-2 tablespoons lemon-infused olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

Start by dicing the pancetta into small pieces. Cook in a medium-size pan on low-medium heat to slowly render as much fat as possible, and so as not to burn the pancetta. Once they are golden and crispy, remove the pancetta pieces and set aside on a paper towel. Keep all the drippings in the pan and move to low heat. Shell the fava beans from the pod, boil in salted water, and shell again to get the inner bean. Add them to a bowl and mash with a fork until fairly smooth in texture. A potato masher works great here. Add in a few drops of lemon olive oil to keep the mash moist. Salt & pepper to taste. Add the fava bean mash back to the heated pan and warm through in the pancetta drippings. Next, add in the edamame beans, crispy pancetta, lemon zest and remaining lemon olive oil. The final mixture should be well-coated and not dry. Add more plain extra-virgin olive oil if you need to. Adjust salt & pepper to taste. Serve warm with a piece of crunchy bread to soak up all the deliciousness at the bottom of the bowl.
edamame & fava beans

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