I ate something called a butter bean at a restaurant years ago and I've always wondered what it IS. It was perfectly buttery and al dente, not at all mushy like a boring old navy bean. The closest thing I could find in the frozen section of the grocery store is a lima bean. Dead end there, for sure.
As I wandered around the farmer's market this weekend, I discovered the truth: it's a fava bean. And a fava bean is a rare and mysterious vegetable. It's not like a carrot, where you just brush off the dirt and start chomping on it. The fava bean requires delicate care and multiple peelings.
|Behold The Fava Bean|
It's pretty easy to get caught up at the farmer's market this time of year when everything looks so fresh and green you just want to grab everything in sight. As twenties were flying out of my hand, I asked the lady at checkout how you cook a fava bean. "Can you just boil it?"
The look of disbelief on her face clearly conveyed how sad my city life is that I'm so disconnected from the land as to not even know how to dissect a fava bean. The looks on the peoples' faces behind me in line clearly conveyed that I am a pain in the ass.
Here's the Cliff Notes: Peel, Boil, Peel, Saute.
Not completely satisfied, I turned to an awesome cookbook, Fast, Fresh & Green, that I knew would not fail me in my fava-quest. I found Warm Parmesan Fava Beans With Shallots and Mint.
The easy part is busting open the fava bean to reveal the tender bean-seed inside. Very satisfying.
|Don't stop believin' butter bean!|
|Not the right way to do it.|
|Looking tasty, my little butter beans.|
|If you have an onion, you can make anything.|
|The time is growing nigh.|
|Almost potato salad and fresh peas (purchased already peeled).|
|Did you really sneak peas in my eggs?|
*Note that if you ever CAN book a backpacking trip to Peru, you should definitely do that.