Fava beans, a spring arrival, can be a pain. You have to peel them and it seems an endless task. Can those husks, which are actually quite tender and sweet, somehow be used?

Yes. This recipe comes from Estella, a cookbook and a Manhattan restaurant. Both of distinction.

An employee at Estella mentioned that at his family’s farm in Puebla, Mexico, they simply grill the whole pods and eat them topped with chile and lime. Here’s the Estella version, made into a salad, and ready to be served alongside meat, birds or fish.

Grilled Fava Beans with Bread Crumbs, Lemon, and Anchovy

Yield: serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices sourdough bread from a loaf that is a couple of days old
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound small young fava beans in the pod
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon flaky salt, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon chile flakes
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
  • 3 or 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • Juice of 1 lemon

7 or 8 anchovy fillets, finely chopped

Preparation:

Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal or gas grill.

Pull the slices of bread into smaller pieces, then blitz them in a food processor into coarse crumbs.

Heat 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and toast the bread crumbs for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until nice and toasty and golden. Sprinkle with a pinch of kosher salt, transfer to a plate, and set aside.

Put the fava beans in a large bowl and add the remaining ¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil, the water, flaky salt, chile flakes, rosemary, and garlic, tossing to coat the favas. Place them on the grill (set the bowl aside) and cook for several minutes, until charred, then flip them over and char on the other side, cooking until the pods seem about to open.

Return the favas to the bowl and dress with the lemon juice, tossing well to coat. Add the anchovies and toss to mix well. Taste and add more flaky salt if you think you need it.

Serve the favas on a plate or platter, hot or at room temperature, with an extra drizzle of olive oil and a generous sprinkle of the bread crumbs.


Source: Estella by Ignacio Mattos [Artisan, 2018]