Sunday, July 07, 2013

Fava Math

I think it was Nigel Slater's vegetable tome entitled Tender that interested me in growing fava beans.  Last year I took an initial stab at the crop , but this year I put in 16 seeds in a 4x4 row.  The plants have been vigorous and they blossomed during a nice dry spell.

In all regards I would say this was a successful planting with good yield ... BUT ... after shelling two pounds of favas ... the double shelling that is necessary ... I ended up with what could not have been more than six ounces of beans.  Now mind you this is well over half of my crop.  SIX OUNCES ??? 

But I was able to create a lovely antipasto to take to a friend's Italian dinner last night.  It was perfect for a warm summer evening.
Fava Beans and Prosciutto

Fava Beans and Prosciutto
Nigel Slater, Tender: A Cook and His Vegetable Patch

2 pounds fava beans in their pods
3 1/2 ounces paper thin prosciutto or even better Serrano or other air dried Spanish ham


1 Tbsp sherry vinegar
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
3 Tbsp of a light olive oil
handful of parsley minced

Shell the favas and add to lightly salted boiling water.  Reduce the heat so they bubble along 2-4 minutes.  I would err on the short side here if they are right out of the garden.  Maybe only 2 minutes.  

Drain and cool under running water.  Pop the beans from their skins.

Add a pinch of salt to the sherry vinegar and stir until dissolved.  Whisk in the tiny amount of Dijon (don't be tempted to add more).  Whisk in the olive oil with a fork and add the minced parsley and add a few grinds of pepper.  Toss in the beans and set aside for at least 20 minutes before serving.  

Loosely lay out the ham .... scatter the beans on top and serve.