Peeling fava beans the lazy way

March 4, 2011 | By | Comments (6)

Nibbling on some lovely peeled fava beans from the test garden at a lunch earlier this week, I remembered a trick I’d learned at Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen in the Napa Valley. Chef Cindy Pawlcyn, also chef of the legendary Mustards Grill, lets diners do the work of peeling the favas. She coats whole pods with a little olive oil and sea salt, then throws them on the grill. The beans steam in their pods; then, as diners peel them, their fingers pick up the salt and season the beans. Brilliant!

I whipped up a batch to try it out, and they flew out of the test kitchen.


Fava beans from our test garden

Cindy Pawlcyn’s easy-peel fava beans

2 lbs. fava beans in the pod, rinsed and patted dry

Extra-virgin olive oil

Coarse sea salt

In a big bowl, toss favas with oil to coat. Sprinkle generously with salt and toss again. Dump them onto a hot grill and spread out in a single layer with tongs. Cover grill and cook favas until grill marks appear, turning once, 5 to 6 minutes total.

Let diners shell their own beans, peeling away one or two layers, as they like


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  4. Kitty Morse

    Try sprinkling fava beans (usually cooked) with a little cumin and lemon juice, as Moroccans do. Even peeling them is worth the effort.

    Kitty Morse, author
    Cooking at the Kasbah

    April 24, 2011 at 4:05 pm
  5. Elaine Johnson

    Catherine, Interesting idea to try the microwave, and the combo with the wine and cheese sounds great!

    March 5, 2011 at 1:42 am
  6. Catherine

    Great idea! If one is on a salt free diet, try the same thing in a microwave oven. Put favas on flat plate, i layer at a time. sprinkle with water. Cover with wax paper and microwave on High until beans start to sizzle. They are “nearly raw” and taste great. Serve with vino rosso and pecorino Romano cheese. Yum!

    March 4, 2011 at 8:03 pm

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