Hello wonderful CSAers!
This week we have fava beans! Grown especially at Glenn’s request! Broccoli florets- which are the side shoots that grow on the broccoli plants after you cut the main head off for a yummy second harvest. Heirloom summer squash either the Patisson Panache Juane et verte, Tromboncino, Success PM Straightneck or the High Mowing . These seeds mainly came from the Seed Savers Exchange catalog and we LOVE the fun shapes and sizes. And last but not least the first of this summer’s tomatillos!
Things are really kicking here at the farm! The first of the heirloom tomatoes was finally ripe today so we are hoping for a huge harvest next week.
Here are some fun recipes for this week. Please make special note of the directions for the fava beans as there is more to it that one might expect.
How to Cook Fresh Fava Beans
About the beans
Fava beans, also known as broad beans, are native to north Africa and southwest Asia, and are one of the most ancient cultivated plants.
Fava beans are extremely nutritious, and are high in fiber in iron. They are more starchy than other beans, however, and therefore are higher in carbs and calories. They also have a couple of very strange quirks. If you have the rare hereditary condition hereditary condition glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency (G6PD), the high levels of certain naturally occurring chemical substances in the raw fava bean can cause hemolytic anemia, a potentially fatal condition (this seems to be eliminated if cooked). It is called "favism", after the bean. Crazy, right? Apparently, eating too many fava beans can also be harmful if you are taking MAO-inhibitor, due to the high level of naturally occuring tyramine.
Prepare the beans
Fresh fava beans have three parts - a tough, green outer pod, a light greenish-white skin, and the little inner green bean. You cannot eat the pod. You can eat the skin and, of course, the little inner bean. The skin is slightly tough, and depending on how you are using them you may want to peel or not. I prefer them peeled, so the tender little inner green bean can really shine through. But again, as long as you cook the bean, you can eat them with the skin on or not, up to you.
Step 1: Shell
Rinse pods under cool water. Break off the tip of the bean at the stem end, then peel the string down the length of the pod. You can then peel the pod open easily, and remove the beans from the pod. Put the beans in a bowl, and discard the pods.
Step 2: Blanch
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Blanch the shelled beans in boiling water, until the first beans start the rise to the surface, about 2-3 minutes. Pull out a large bean, and peel back the skin; the bean inside should be bright green and tender. When done, drain, and transfer immediately to a bowl of cold water. Let sit a few minutes to cool; this will make peeling the skin much easier! If you are leaving them unpeeled, go ahead and use as is. If you want them peeled, continue on...
Step 3: Peel
To peel the skin off the bean, pinch the skin to loosen, or use a small knife to cut a slit (my preferred method). Pinch it, and your lovely green fava bean will slip out from the white skin. Fun! Discard the skin, save the bean. Keep peeling. Keep peeling. Keep peeling. Patience is a virtue, remember that...
Step 4: Use
Hooray! Your beans are now ready to use! Add them to soups, stews, braises, casseroles, salads or whatever else you'd like.
If you peel them and realize that - uh-oh! - your beans are not fully tender after all, and you will be adding them to a dish that doesn't require additional cooking (like a salad), you can cook them briefly in a pot of boiling water. Bring a pot of water to boil once again, and cook the shelled, peeled beans for about 2-4 minutes, until bright green and tender. Drain beans and cool. If you want to cool them quickly, you can place in a large bowl of cold water.
Grilled Fava Beans
1 pound of fresh fava beans, still in their pods
a couple glugs of olive oil
a few pinches of salt
optional: crushed red pepper flakes, lemon zest, and or chopped fresh herbs.
In a large bowl toss the fava bean pods with olive oil and salt. Arrange them in a single layer on a grill over medium-high heat. If you're using a grill pan, you may need to cook them in batches. If I'm using an outdoor grill I don't bother covering the favas, but when I use a grill pan, I typically cover the pan with a flat baking sheet to keep more of the heat in the pan and circulating. Grill until blistered on one side - 4 to 5 minutes, then flip and grill for a few minutes more on the other side. If you aren't sure when to pull them off, take a pod off the grill, open and taste one of the beans. You want the fava beans to be smooth and creamy when you pop them out of their skins - not undercooked. But keep in mind that they'll keep steaming in their pods for a few minutes after they come off the grill, unless you eat them as soon as you can handle the pods without singing your fingers - which is what I encourage you to do :) Season the grilled favas with a bit more salt (if needed) and any herbs or lemon zest if you like. To eat: tear open the puffy green pods, take a fava bean, pinch the skin and slide the bright green fava from its slipper. Eat them one at a time and be sure to lick your fingers.
Serves 2 - 4
Gabriel's Sauteed Fava Beans
By Julesong on April 16, 2005
"This basic method of cooking fava beans was taught to me by chef Gabriel Claycamp of Culinary Communion. When I was recently able to get a hold of fresh fava beans, I wanted to cook them in a way that highlighted the taste of the beans themselves, and here’s how Gabriel suggested I fix them. Although fresh fava beans are, as he said, about 70% waste (and the prep time is shelling and peeling), the remaining 30% after you’ve prepared and eaten them are *well* worth the effort! We loved them!"
2 lbs fresh fava beans, in the pod ( yields about 1 1/2 to 2 cups shelled beans)
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced, to taste
salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- First, shell the beans from the fava pods (I found it’s sometimes easier - especially if you're new to fava beans - to open the pods when you run the edge of a knife along the seam, cutting away the tough edge so that the pod halves come apart).
- In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil, then add salt – the amount depends on how much water you have, but it should be very salty, like seawater.
- In a bowl, combine ice and tap water to make ice water; set aside.
- Add the shelled beans to the boiling water and let cook for about 3 minutes, then remove from saucepan and immediately plunge into the ice water to halt the cooking.
- Let the beans cool, then peel the outer skin from each of them.
- Over medium heat in a skillet, melt together the butter and olive oil, then add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute.
- Add the peeled fava beans and sauté for about 5 to 7 minutes, or until they are done to your preference.
- Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper, serve, and enjoy!
Note: I asked Gabriel if favas could be frozen effectively, and he said that yes, you can shuck them and blanch them for 1 minute at most, then freeze them in a single layer on a sheet in the freezer before putting them into bags; great bright green color and no mushiness in texture; thaw, peel, and use as usual.
Our Favorite Fava Beans
from Julia and Andy
2 cups favas, taken out of the pods
1-4 cloves of garlic, chopped AND/OR:
1/2 cup onions, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
The simplest version: sauté the favas with the garlic in the heated oil. the shells will come off in the pan, they are a lighter green, and the whole thing can be eaten like that. Season with salt and pepper.
Version #2: Put the light green favas (that have been removed from the pod) into boiling water for 1-2 minutes. Remove immediately, rinse in cold water. Take the outer shell off each fava bean, so that you have just the bright emerald green bean. Then cook just the inner brighter green beans in the heated oil with the garlic for 2-3 minutes, then eat. We like both versions, and which one we do depends on if we have guests or willing children to help in the extra step of Version #2.
Ricotta Gnocchi with Leeks and Fava Beans
The quality of the ricotta made near Florence inspired cooks there to create these dumplings. Seasonal leeks add their earthiness to the gnocchi, and bright green favas sautéed in butter with sage are the edible garnish.
Yield: Makes 4 servings
1 15ounce container whole-milk ricotta cheese
1 small leek (white and pale green parts only), halved lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise
1 large egg
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus additional for serving
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2/3 cup all purpose flour, plus additional for dredging
1 cup shelled fresh fava beans or frozen double-peeled, thawed
1/4 cup butter
12 fresh sage leaves
Set large strainer lined with double-layer damp cheesecloth over large bowl. Place ricotta in prepared strainer; cover with plastic and refrigerate overnight. (If using fresh ricotta, skip this step.)
Cook leek in small pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 7 minutes. Drain. Rinse under cold water; drain. Using hands, squeeze leek dry.
Mix ricotta, leek, egg, 1/2 cup Parmesan, salt, pepper, and nutmeg in bowl. Stir in 2/3 cup flour. Cover and chill mixture at least 1 hour and up to 1 day. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place flour for dredging in flat bowl. For each gnocchi, shape 1 tablespoon ricotta mixture into ball, then drop into bowl of flour, tossing to coat. Transfer gnocchi to baking sheet. (Can be made 4 hours ahead. Cover with plastic wrap; chill.)
If using fresh fava beans, blanch in small saucepan of boiling salted water for 2 minutes; transfer to bowl of ice water. Peel beans.
Melt butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add fava beans and sage leaves. Sauté until butter browns, favas are tender, and sage leaves are crisp, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Working in 2 batches, add gnocchi and cook until tender and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer to skillet with fava beans; toss to coat. When all gnocchi have been added to skillet, toss over medium heat to warm. Serve with Parmesan.
Chicken with Tomatillo and Cilantro Sauce
1 pound tomatillos, husked
3 serrano chiles, stemmed
2 whole skinless chicken breasts (about 2 1/2 pounds), halved
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus extra for garnish
1 teaspoon salt, plus extra for sprinkling
Move broiler rack into position closest to flame. Set broiler to medium.
Place tomatillos and chiles on a rimmed baking sheet; broil until soft and
blackened in spots, about 5 minutes. Turn; broil other side 5 minutes.
Remove from broiler and transfer to a food processor; blend. Increase broiler
heat to high. Place chicken on same baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. Broil
chicken until browned, about 9 minutes. Turn; broil other side 9 minutes. Heat
oil in a large saucepan over low heat; cook onion and garlic, stirring occasionally,
until soft and golden, about 5 minutes. Add pureed tomatillos and chiles; simmer uncovered,
2 minutes. Add cilantro and 1 teaspoon salt. Gently place chicken
in sauce. Simmer, covered, until meat is cooked through, about 20 minutes.
Charred Tomatillo Guacamole
6 oz tomatillos (6 or 7), husked and rinsed
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
3 to 4 fresh serrano chiles, seeded (optional) and finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 large avocados (1 lb total)
Preheat broiler. Broil tomatillos in a flameproof shallow baking pan
about 4 inches from heat until tops are charred, 7 to 10 minutes.
Turn tomatillos over with tongs and broil until charred, about 5 minutes
more. Combine onion, chiles, cilantro, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.
Add tomatillos 2 at a time, mashing with a fork or pestle to form a
coarse paste. Pit and peel avocados. Add avocados to mixture
and continue mashing until incorporated but still chunky.
Raw Tomatillo Salsa
Tomatillos look like small green tomatoes in sticky, papery husks. In fact, they are relatives of the tomato and are a type of ground cherry. They are native to Central America. Fresh-tasting and excitingly tart, this chunky salsa is great on grilled meat, tostadas, or seafood. It can be made in less than a minute and should be used immediately.
4 large tomatillos, papery husks removed
2 tablespoons diced white onion
1 serrano chile, stemmed
8 sprigs cilantro, stemmed
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Wash the tomatillos well with warm water to remove the naturally
sticky coating, which is bitter. Cut them into quarters. Pulse the tomatillos
in a food processor with the remaining ingredients until a slightly chunky
texture is achieved. Taste for salt and serve as soon as possible to enjoy
maximum bite and crunch.
Yield: Makes about 2 cups
1 pound fresh tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and quartered
1 fresh serrano chile, seeded and chopped
1/2 large white onion, cut into 4 wedges
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Coarsely purée tomatillos, chile, onion, garlic, water, and 1 teaspoon salt in a blender. Transfer to a large heavy skillet and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and cool to room temperature, then stir in cilantro, lime juice,
and salt to taste.
Tomato and Tomatillo Gazpacho
1/2 pound fresh tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and quartered
1 1/2 pounds tomatoes, chopped, divided
1/2 cup chopped white onion, divided
1 fresh serrano chile, coarsely chopped, including seeds
1 garlic clove, quartered
2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
1 cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Puree tomatillos, half of tomatoes, and half of onion with chile, garlic, vinegar, and 1 1/4 teaspoons salt in a blender until smooth. Force through a medium-mesh sieve into a bowl, discarding solids. Stir in remaining tomatoes and onion, water, oil, and cilantro. Chill until cold, at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours.