At last week’s farmers market, I spotted a new-to-me vegetable. I’m always on the hunt for something new and different, and I’m a fan of fava beans, so I asked the farmer for the scoop.
He said that they were tasty and easy to prepare, and he likened them to pea shoots, which are the greens pulled from the pea plant and often sauteed briefly with garlic. Like pea shoots, which have the sweet flavor of peas, the fava greens retain the kind of nutty hint that fava beans deliver.
The farmer said to cook them as simply as possible and for a short time — a sauté in olive oil with a little salt, garlic and red pepper. That’s what I did, and they were great.
One lesson I learned through experience … I checked online about whether the stems are edible — the sites I researched said the entire plant is, so I went ahead and cooked the greens with the stems. I discovered that the stems are not so lovely — tough, fibrous and really hard to chew. If I find these greens again, I will discard the stems before I cook the delectable leaves.
I served these with a simple vegetarian pasta dish, and dinner was delicious.
Sauteed Fava Greens
1 large bunch fava greens, tough stems removed, and rinsed well
Scant tablespoon olive oil
1 or 2 cloves garlic, crushed
Sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes
In a large skillet, heat the oil with the garlic, salt and pepper flakes until fragrant. Add the greens and turn them frequently to sauté them evenly. When the greens are wilted and soft, about 5 minutes, remove them from the heat and serve.