Fresh fava beans are available every spring and are a very versatile and healthy vegetable that can be used in an unlimited number of ways. Fava beans can be used as a topping for bruschetta, in a sauce for pasta, or as a light spring soup as I used them in this recipe.
If you have never prepared fava beans before, you might find the task a bit daunting, but once you get some practice they can be prepared pretty quickly. First you must remove the beans from the thick, rubbery pods. Next cook in boiling water for 4 to 5 minutes and then drop into an ice water bath. Finally, the beans need to be removed from their rubbery skins. I find this can be accomplished very quickly by cutting a small slit into the side of each bean, and then by squeezing the tender bean out of the shell.
Deborah Mele 2011
Creamy Fava Bean Soup
This vibrant spring soup is easy to make yet very elegant.
- 1 1/2 Pounds Fava Bean Pods (to yield 3/4 cup beans)
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1/2 Onion, Finely Chopped
- 1 (8-ounce) Yukon Gold Potato, Peeled, Cut Into 1/2-inch Pieces
- 1/2 Medium Carrot, Peeled, Thinly Sliced
- 2 (14-ounce Cans) Vegetable or Chicken Broth
- 1 Cup Water
- 1/4 Cup Chopped Fresh Parsley
- 1/3 Cup Whipping Cream
Basil Cream Garnish (Optional):
- 1/2 Cup Whipping Cream
- 5 Tablespoons Basil Pesto
- Chopped Fresh Chives
- Cook shelled fava beans in large pot of boiling salted water for 5 minutes, then drain.
- Cool, then peel skin from each bean (to yield about 3/4 cup beans).
- Heat oil in large pot over medium heat, then add onion and saute until tender, about 5 minutes.
- Add beans, potato, carrot, broth, and water.
- Cover and simmer until vegetables are soft, about 15 minutes.
- Cool slightly, then stir in parsley.
- Working in batches, puree soup in blender, then return to pot.
- Stir in 1/3 cup cream and season with salt and pepper. (Soup can be made 1 day ahead; cover and chill.)
- For the garnish:
- Whip 1/2 cup cream until stiff peaks form, then fold the basil into the cream and keep refrigerated until ready to use.
- Bring soup to simmer, then ladle into bowls.
- Top with dollop of basil cream and sprinkle on some chopped fresh chives.