Fresh, buttery fava beans are rich on their own, but when served with salty prosciutto and a touch of cream, they skyrocket to a whole new level.
Fava beans, also known to many as broad beans. Soft and creamy with a nutty, fresh flavor, favas have become one of my favorite veggies of the season. In fact, I love them so much, this year I planted a few in my garden. They’ve sprouted up into tall, healthy stalks, and (fingers crossed) if the pesky aphids don’t take them down first, I’ll have a lovely harvest in a few weeks.
But, you guys, favas harbor a dirty little secret: They’re a total pain in the neck to prep. First they need to be shucked out of the pod like peas, then each individual bean needs to be peeled as well.
It’s truly a labor of love, and the process can actually be pretty zen, even therapeutic, if you let it. Favas are rich and buttery on their own, but when paired with salty, funky prosciutto and a touch of cream, they’re absolutely ethereal.
- 1 pound freshly shucked fava beans; roughly 3 1/2 cups from about 3 pounds of pods
- 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/4 lb thinly sliced prosciutto roughly chopped
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
- 1/4 lemon squeezed (about 1-2 teaspoons)
- 2 tablespoons minced chives
TO COOK AND PEEL THE FAVA BEANS
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and liberally season with salt. It should taste like the ocean. Prepare an ice bath and set aside. If the favas vary greatly in size, separate them into two piles: one larger and one smaller.
- Drop the larger favas into the boiling water first and allow to cook for about 90 seconds, then drop in the smaller beans. Cook for about 2 minutes longer, or until the beans are tender throughout (cook time will depend on their size so be sure to check).
- Drain the beans and immediately submerge in the ice bath. Once cool, strain, then remove the peel from each individual bean. After blanching, they should slip right off.
TO PREPARE THE DISH
- Place the olive oil and prosciutto in a large saucepan over medium heat and sauté until the prosciutto has rendered down and crisped up, about 4 minutes. Pour out any fat in the pan so there is only 1 tsp remaining.
- Add in the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds, then pour in the cream. Bring up to a boil and allow the cream to reduce by half. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Add in the peeled fava beans and continue cooking for about 2 more minutes until the sauce has tightened up and the flavors have melded together. Squeeze the lemon in to brighten up the sauce, taste, and adjust the seasoning as needed. Garnish with chives and serve immediately, right out of the pan.