Friday, August 19, 2011

Minted Fava Bean Puree

Fava beans are tricky. Not only do fresh favas need some extra-special care in getting them to the point of edibility - who knew there could be so many layers to a bean - there is also the Hannibal-Lecter factor to consider.

Here you go, get it out of your system:

But fava beans, also known as English beans, broad beans and pigeon beans, are wonderfully creamy with a slighty nutty flavor. They have a firm bite to them when parboiled just right, and yield an amazing buttery texture when made into a puree. Like most legumes, they pack a powerful punch loaded with fiber, and these babies also carry along a goodly amount of iron.

Pick up a couple pounds at your farmers' market, then roll up your sleeves and get ready. First, you need to string the beans and shuck them.  Next, parboil them and then you can remove the waxy coating from the outside. Once you've done that, you get to the center where a creamy, pale green nugget awaits. Trust me, it's worth the wait. Or, for the faint of heart, you could buy them already shucked and shelled in the refrigerated section of the grocery department, but that'll cost you more. If you're not as enamored of the zen-like process of food prep and getting your mise en place  en place as I am, I'd suggest you take the hit to your wallet and opt for the pre-shelled beans.

Favas work wonderfully in salads, pasta dishes and pair uncommonly well with an assertive cheese like pecorino. I'm not kidding - shave a piece of pecorino and stick a bean or two on it and chow down. Repeat at will. It's heaven. Mint is another flavor that seems made for fava beans, and I'd suggest you reach for the fresh mint whenever you can. Pureed together, they create a creamy and satisfying puree that makes a fantastic dip or the perfect spread for crostini.

Minted Fava Bean Puree


  • 8 oz. fava beans, shelled & cooked
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Juice of half a lemon, appr. 1 T
  • 2 T fresh mint
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper


  1. Puree the fava beans in a food processor until well chopped.
  2. Add the minced garlic, mint leaves and lemon juice and pulse until blended.
  3. Drizzle in olive oil and continue processing until you reach the consistency you prefer. 
  4. Season to taste with sat and pepper.

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