One of my most favorite spring vegetables is fava beans. I distinctly remember first becoming aware of favas through reading my mother’s Martha Stewart magazines. Martha uses lots of fava beans in her magazines and cookbooks and I often wondered what made them so wonderful. I equally wondered where on earth you would find them fresh. The farmer’s market I used to go to in Denver didn’t have favas, and then I spent several years overseas where so many fruits and veggies were a rarity, and then four years in New Mexico, where I ate lots of green chili, but no favas.
When I moved to Oregon, I found favas in a market an hour away from our home and greedily bought about a dozen. I was then faced with the question about what, exactly, to do with them. I have no idea where I found the very easy preparation of roasting fava beans with olive oil and salt, but it is so, so very easy and makes these somewhat complicated veggies very accessible. For a very, very brief period of time, there was a farmer in my little rural town in Oregon who grew favas in the spring – I’d buy heaps of them and we would gorge ourselves on the roasted beans. That farmer, unfortunately, decided it was more profitable to go to just one farmers market in the region in the early spring, so I was left fava-less for several seasons.
Now we are in the Portland area, and in a last resort, we can always go to Whole Foods and similar markets for produce. I gasped with delight when I saw these the other day when we were out looking for greens for our salad. I’m also hoping for favas to show up at the farmers market.
If you have thirty minutes, olive oil, salt and fava beans, you can easily throw these beauties together.
Roasted Fava Beans
12 fava beans
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Put the fava beans on a baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 12 minutes and then flip the favas. Bake for another 12 minutes. The favas should be soft and golden.
You can pull the beans out of the fava shells at this stage or eat the whole bean – shells and all.