Thursday, August 2, 2007

Fava Beans 101 – Inside the “Russian Nesting Doll” of the Bean Family

It’s a shame when people don’t get to experience some great culinary pleasure simply because they don’t know how to work with the product. Fava beans, also called Broad Beans, or Horse Beans, are a good example of that. These beans are a favorite of Chefs worldwide because of their beautiful color and unique flavor. Unfortunately, for the average grocery store, or vegetable stand shopper, they are just those big, ugly, green pods that get passed over for the more familiar green string beans. I hope after watching this demo (and the next video recipe to follow) that you will run out and buy a big pile of these wonderful beans and begin to enjoy them, as they deserve to be. If you don’t find them at the grocery store, check the local farmer’s market.

Yes, as you’ll see, there is a little bit of work involved in preparing these beans for whatever recipe you are planning to use them in, but when you consider how delicious they are, it’s definitely worth the effort. I compared them in the title to Russian Dolls since the part of the bean you eat is actually a seed that is encased in a think skin, which is encased in a large green pod. Once liberated, these Fava beans are an incredible addition to so many dishes. They can be eaten plain, added to pastas, risottos, soups, or in salads, as I use them in the next demo. This clip is really just part one, of a two part video recipe. In the next video I’ll combine them with butter beans, roasted peppers, garlic, lemon and mint to create a cold bean salad so delicious it defies description. So, stay tuned for that. Enjoy!

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

great clip, well explained. thanks chef!

Anonymous said...

A census worker wanted to test me, I ate his liver with some fava beans and some nice chianti.... *sucking sounds*

Chef John said...

Hey! I said NO Silence of the Lambs jokes!

Nessa said...

Not really a fan of beans, give me gas!!

Chef John said...

t.m.i.

Jewels said...

LOL @ the 'horse bean' sound.

You crack me up.

Nessa said...

t.m.i.??

ann said...

I was at the local farmer's market earlier in the week when I had to laugh. At one of the stands was this impeccably dressed hipster dude carefully picking through the pile of fava beans only choosing the most perfect ones. It was sooooooo obvious he had no idea what he was in for as he bought less than a pound of them... poor hipster dude. he should have watched your video first!

Chef John said...

tmi = too much info : )

Chef John said...

ann, thanks, funny anecdote... there should be a dress code at the farmers market anyway, jeans and t-shirts only.

Jewels said...

Excuse me for just butting right in with questions completely unrelated to absolutely anything going on here, but Chef John, do you by any chance have a nice lasagna recipe lying around? Like, the real good heart-attack-inducing comfort-food type that just kills absolutely any diet you're even thinking about?

(Your doctor would never know, you could just say it was a really really really old clip you had lying around and forgot to transfer over before. ""What? New camera equipment? Good vocals? No, no, no, that must have just been an incredibly lucky shoot with the old webcam! That's it! Yes indeedey.")

Chef John said...

yes, ive recieved many requests for lasagne. Its only a matter of time before I have to give up my top sercet meat sauce recipe and make lasagne...stay tuned.

sarah said...

chef...sarah here from the delicious life and tastespotting. thanks for the link to the fava beans. always see them at the farmers' market. always tempted to buy them. always reluctant and end up without because i'm too lazy to shell them :)

Anonymous said...

the problem with fava beans if that they smell like pee...

Chef John said...

you'd better get a check-up

Betty said...

I'm learning lots from watching your demos. I love fava bean mash, have you ever tried that? Here in Australia we buy frozen fava beans from asian grocers... makes life easier. And by the way, did you know some individuals develop haemolytic anaemia from eating these beans... check this out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glucose-6-phosphate_dehydrogenase_deficiency

Vassil said...

Chef John, this one looks great!
I was shocked yesterday to find out that Berkeley Bowl doesn't have fresh fava beans. They have them in the bulk (dried) section though, so I was wondering if I could use those instead, after soaking and boiling them - any suggestions? Thank you!

Chef John said...

good, but not the same. they are not in season now.

tucker's mama said...

chef john - can these fava beans be found in the frozen food dept? if not, why not?
thanks, tammy

Chef John said...

ive seen them before, but not sure why not that common