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Bento Recipe: Sauteed fava beans


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This is a simple recipe, but it is also very labor-intensive. The actual cooking is simple and quick, but getting to that point will take some time. If you've ever worked with fresh fava beans you know what I'm talking about.

What you need:

  • a pound or two of fava beans (You'll get 2 servings per pound. No joke.)
  • water
  • 1 tbsp of butter
  • 2 garlic cloves1 tbsp of olive oil
  • salt, pepper, & other spices, as desired

First, the boring, time-consuming part: shelling the beans. First get the beans out of the tough pods. I recommend sticking a knife in one end and drawing it up the side, between the pod shell and the beans, to slit it all the way, then taking the beans out. You can't squirt them out like edamame; they're attached to the pod.  When that's done, drop the beans into a pot of boiling water. Let them boil for three minutes only, then immediately plunge the beans into cold water - icewater, if you want to go that far - to stop the cooking. After a minute, when they're cool, start shelling the beans. I found it fastest to make a little nip with my fingernail in one end of the white skin, then squeeze the bean through. Do this for each and every bean. (Needless to say, when you select the bean pods at the grocery store, pick big, healthy-looking ones. The runty ones aren't worth all this effort!)

When that's done you're nearly there. Mince the garlic, then heat a pan on medium and put the butter and garlic in it. When the butter is melted add in the garlic and sautee for a minute. Then chuck in the beans in and sautee the whole shebang for 5-7 minutes. Finally, season to taste with salt, pepper, and whatever else you want, and serve.