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Diane Rossen Worthington
I have endless ways to enjoy fava beans, but this Fava Beans with Red Onion and Bacon recipe is definitely worth the prep time. It has a distinctive medley of flavors and textures -- sweet, creamy, salty and crispy.
Fava beans, sometimes called broad beans or horse beans, have a distinctive creamy, nutty flavor. They retain their creamy texture and don't become starchy like other beans. The beans grow inside pods and are about 8 to 10 inches long and actually live in a spongy material that protects them and encourages tenderness. Mature beans have an outer skin that needs to be removed before cooking.
In the past, the best place to find fava beans was in the local Italian market. Today, they make their appearance in farmers' markets across the country as well as in many supermarkets.
While it takes a bit of time to shell and peel fresh fava beans, it's fun to enlist a friend or your kids to do the work together (kids love discovering the different textures inside). Look for the smaller, younger beans that have better flavor. Fava beans are very tender and add vibrant color and texture to salads, pastas, rice and other dishes.
Fava Beans with Red Onion & Bacon Recipe
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 12 minutes
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
Fava Beans with Red Onion & Bacon Recipe Ingredients
3 pounds fresh young fava beans
3 bacon slices
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar, divided
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Fava Beans with Red Onion & Bacon Recipe Instructions
1. Shell the fava beans by removing them from the pod. If the beans are very young, they may not need to be skinned after shelling (the skin feels spongy); if they are older and larger, the outer skin should be removed, as they make the beans tougher. Place these beans in a medium saucepan.
2. In a medium skillet, cook the bacon on medium heat until crisp. Drain on paper towels and cool. Crumble into tiny pieces and reserve.
3. In a medium skillet heat the oil on medium heat and saute the onion slowly for about 10 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon of the vinegar and continue cooking until the onions are light brown and just begin to caramelize. Reserve in the pan.
4. Cover the beans with water by 1/2 inch and bring them to a simmer on medium heat for a few minutes or until tender, anywhere from 2 to 5 minutes, depending upon how large they are.
5. When the beans are cooked, add them to the pan with the onions. Add the bacon, reserved vinegar, parsley, salt and pepper, and cook on medium heat, mixing to combine. Taste for seasoning. Spoon into a bowl and serve immediately.
Advance preparation: The fava beans may be shelled 8 hours ahead and the dish may be prepared through step 3 up to 4 hours ahead and kept at room temperature.
Here are a few other uses for Fava beans:
-- Serve with a sprinkle of sea salt alongside an antipasto of proscuitto, cheese and cherry tomatoes.
-- Serve warm with a sprinkling of lemon juice, zest, olive oil and sea salt.
-- Puree into a dip along with olive oil, lemon juice and seasonings and serve as a topping for crostini.
-- Serve chilled with a citrus herb vinaigrette.
Fava Beans, Healthy
Fava Beans Recipe with Red Onion and Bacon
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