Eat & Tell
Fever for the Fava
Ever since my first bite of falafel (1993, Danville, Pennsylvania, homemade by Husam Hamati, Jordanian pathologist and friend of my father), I've held a profound, if limited, affection for fava beans. For many years, I've only known them in the form (ground, mixed with chickpeas, onion, parsley, spices) of deep-fried balls. I have loved and ingested many a fava in this guise (Aladdin Gyrocery, 4139 University Way, 206-632-5253, will always be my local favorite), but only recently started taking advantage of fresh favas at markets around town. I love their distinct flavor—crisp, decidedly green, a little bitter, a little sweet.
It's late in the fava-bean season now, so the pods are long and lumpy, and the beans plump and tight within their shells. Cooking with fresh favas hasn't been the easiest road for me. First, there's the time commitment (you need to shuck the beans from their furry white pods, then parboil them, then shell them individually) and I've also found that they're temperamental little things that will turn mushy in the blink of an eye. But I'll keep trying; the preparation process is just so satisfying. Last week, when it was nice and hot out, I sat by my kitchen window in my underwear, worked my way through a bottle of rosé, and shucked beans while listening to KIXI AM 880. I overcooked the favas, but they were delicious all the same.