The ride from my house to the PSU Farmers Market is a relaxed, 5 mile journey on the Springwater Trail. Expecting rain, I woke up to sun, eager to enjoy a bike ride in the surprisingly beautiful weather. I didn’t have a shopping list, but I knew that berries were a must. My first stop was for the berries: strawberries and blueberries. After that purchase was made, I wandered around and looked for inspirational ingredients. Lo and behold, I spotted some fava beans, which I’ve never used before. Considering that they are celebrated as an embodiment of summer by so many chefs and diners, I bought some, despite the fact that this is the tail end of their season. Unwilling to risk smushing my berries, I improvised a shopping basket.
With my fava beans, berries, and a couple other ingredients (red onion, garlic, parsley, and blackberries), I made my way back to my bike to strategically pack my panniers.
Back home, after a trip to the dog park, I looked on my new favorite recipe blog, Naturally Ella, for some instructions on how to prepare the fava beans. I found her recipe for summery rice and fava beans (http://naturallyella.com/2010/07/01/summery-rice-and-fava-beans/) and adapted it to suit my inventory and tastes. The amounts I’m listing here serve one, so multiply if you’re eating with company.
1/4 cup short grain brown rice (or whatever rice you like) cooked in veggie broth
2 inches leek, chopped into half moons
12-16 fava bean pods
1 Tbsp goat cheese
a splash of olive oil
salt and pepper
Shell the fava beans by removing the pods.
In my research for fava bean preparation, I learned that peeling is optional. (Do not confuse peeling with shelling). Peeling refers to removing the waxy cover from the bean. To make peeling easier, I followed some online instructions to parboil the beans for 4 minutes, and then slip the skins off. I wish I hadn’t! I think my favas were way overcooked. Blanching would have been a much better course of action. Next time! So if do decide to peel your beans, try blanching to break the peel, and remove the skins after the beans have cooled.
Once you have peeled the beans, heat a splash of olive oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat.
When the oil is hot, add the leeks. Cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the fava beans, stirring, and some lemon zest, salt and pepper. Cook until beans reach desired consistency, which probably won’t take more than a couple minutes if the beans were blanched first.
Grab your bowl, fill it with rice, top it with the leek/fava skillet mixture, and stir in the goat cheese until it melts. Season with more salt, pepper, and lemon if desired.