|Fava beans from the garden.|
It’s coming up to 1:30 and I’m feeling hungry. The rain has finally let up, so I grab my basket, pull on some mud boots and head to the garden. The chard, broccoli and kale have all been picked in the past couple days (vegetable soup and a stir-fry). The peas aren’t ready. But, here are some habas—baby fava beans.
Nobody else is home this weekend and a good thing, because there are just enough favas for my lunch.
I heat olive oil in a small cazuela while I shell the beans. These freshly-picked ones don’t need to have the skins removed. Truth be told, home cooks in Spain never remove fava skins. This, in my opinion, is an unnecessary refinement, not worth the bother. In fact, when small and recently gathered, even the pods are edible.
Into the cazuela go a clove of garlic, sliced crosswise, and some chopped serrano ham (pancetta would be a good substitute for the ham).
I add the beans to the cazuela and stir them around, lower the heat a bit. Earthenware cazuelas hold a steady, even heat. The beans take only about 5 minutes to cook. While they’re cooking, I fry an egg in olive oil, Spanish style, estrellado, scooping hot oil over the top of the egg, and slide it into the cazuela with the beans. Toast with olive oil is all I need to complete my lunch.
|Favas with serrano ham and fried egg.|
The dish, simply known as habas con jamón, favas with ham, is a specialty of Granada. It can be finished off with a sprinkle of chopped fennel fronds (wild fennel is sending up new shoots in this season), mint or parsley.
Two pounds of favas in their shells will yield 1 ¾ to 2 cups of shelled beans. Here are two more recipes for fava beans in this blog post http://mykitcheninspain.blogspot.com.es/2010/04/season-of-favas.html . And for a wider survey (beyond Spanish borders) of how to prepare fava beans, check out this article by Russ Parsons in the Los Angeles Times.