I was at a girlfriend’s house recently and in the midst of muddling up some fresh Mojitos she passed me a bag of something from her farm CSA and asked me what they were. I looked in the bag and initially thought they were snap peas or sugar peas. Upon closer inspection I notice their much larger size both in length and girth, as well as some raised imperfections on the outer pod. I recognized them as Fava Beans. Only seeing them once a year they can be mistaken for smaller varieties of peas or English Peas as well.
Fava Beans, or Broad Beans, are different than other bean pods in that the beans which lay within are covered by a slip usually requiring parboiling to remove. My friend mentioned her farmer grills them. That was news to me and I explained how to shell and parboil them to get to the delicious large beans within.
About a week later my husband and son went to pick up our weekly CSA share at our farm, and came home with a wonderful variety of fresh, organic produce. They mentioned that there had been a woman at the farm grilling fava beans who maintained you just needed to brush them with a bit of olive oil, grill them and could then eat the entire thing, pod and all, or easily squeeze the beans from inside with no other preparation required. There are two thicker threads which run along each seam between the two ends that will need to be removed but are easily striped from the pod when taking off the ends.
The mention of grilling fava beans two times in a week had my curiosity piqued. Happy to grill most anything these days I prepared about 1 ½ pounds of fava beans by tossing in olive oil, a bit of salt and pepper, and tossing them on the grill. Finding the natural flavor of fava beans a bit flat I added some aged balsamic vinegar, lemon zest and a sprinkle of sea salt after grilling.
The pods were pliable and indeed after removing the two ends and strings the entire pod can be eaten! My preference is to squeeze the inner beans out of the pod like Edamame and they are delicious! This method is simple and a fast, non-fussy, way to prepare fava beans. They only have a short season so enjoy them while they are here!
Grilled Fava Beans with Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 ½ Fava Beans (in the pods)
- 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Kosher Salt
- Black Pepper , preferably freshly ground
- 2 teaspoons Balsamic Vinegar
- Zest of 1 Lemon
- Sea Salt
- Heat a grill, gas or charcoal, high (375-400 degrees).
- Rinse fava bean pods and dab dry with paper towels. Place them in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons Olive Oil and a light sprinkle of kosher salt and black pepper. Toss to coat.
- When the grill is to temperature, clean and oil it (I scrape it with a wire grill brush and oil with paper towel moistened with olive oil rubbed on the clean grate).
- Place the prepared fava beans on the hot grill. Grill until char marks begin to appear and turn over (turn at 2 ½ to 3 minutes); repeat until char marks appear on the opposite side and beans begin to soften. Total grilling time is approximately 5 minutes. Remove and allow to site for 5 minutes.
- In a small bowl combine the balsamic vinegar and remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil. Whisk together. Place fava beans in a large serving bowl and toss with the vinegar-olive oil, lemon zest and a light sprinkle of sea salt. Serve immediately. Note: the ends should be clipped off and the two large strings running along the seams between the ends removed (can be done by diners or prior to serving).