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Fava Beans

purple fava beans
purple fava beans
It is believed that along with lentils, peas, and chickpeas, fava beans became part of the eastern Mediterranean diet around 6000 BC or earlier. They are still often grown as a cover crop to prevent erosion, both because they can over-winter and because as a legume, they fix nitrogen in the soil.

Favas — also known as Windsor beans, English beans, horse beans, and pigeon beans — have long been diet staples in Asia, the Middle East, South America, North Africa and Europe. They were the only beans Europeans ate before they discovered America and all its legumes. The beans have a buttery texture, slight bitterness and lovely, nutty flavor.

Fava beans can be served simply boiled, mashed and spread on crostini, or added to spring stews and soups. And, favas are nutrition superheroes. They are high in fiber and iron, and low in sodium and fat. They have no cholesterol but are high in protein.

some fava recpies:

Fava Beans with Red Onion and Mint
3 cups peeled shelled fresh fava beans (2 1/2 pounds in pod)
1 teaspoon plus 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 medium red onions, chopped
Fine sea salt
Generous handful of mint, roughly chopped (about 1/2 cup)

Cook fava beans with 1 teaspoon oil in boiling unsalted water until tender, 6 to 8 minutes, then drain. Cook onions in remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a medium skillet over medium heat, stirring, until just crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Add beans and cook until just heated through, then season with sea salt and pepper. Toss in mint. Serve immediately.
Fava beans can be shelled and peeled (but not cooked) 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.

Fresh Ricotta and Fava Bean Bruschetta
1 1/2 cups shelled fresh fava beans (from about 1 1/2 pounds)
8 4x3x1/2-inch slices country-style bread, cut in half crosswise
8 garlic cloves, cut in half crosswise
15 ounces fresh ricotta cheese or whole-milk ricotta cheese
Extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup thinly sliced fresh basil

Cook fava beans or lima beans in medium saucepan of boiling salted water until just tender, about 1 1/2 minutes for fava beans or about 4 minutes for lima beans. Drain. Rinse under cold water; drain well. Peel fava beans if using; set aside. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.) Preheat oven to 375°F. Arrange bread pieces on baking sheet; toast in oven until light golden, about 12 minutes. Rub 1 side of each bread piece with cut side of 1 garlic half, pressing firmly to release juices into bread. Top each bread piece with 1 heaping tablespoon ricotta cheese, then fava beans, dividing equally. Place 2 bread pieces on each of 8 plates. Drizzle lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Garnish with sliced basil and serve.

Green Bean Salad
1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pound green beans, trimmed
2 tablespoons shelled sunflower seeds, toasted lightly

In a small bowl whisk together the vinegar, the oil, and salt and pepper to taste. In a large saucepan of boiling salted water cook the green beans for 4 minutes,. Drain the beans, transfer them to a bowl of ice and cold water to stop the cooking, and drain them. Pat the beans dry between several thicknesses of paper towels and in a bowl toss them with the sunflower seeds


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