Greenest Fava Beans Ever!

Fava beans, corn, tomatoes…all foods that remind us (in the northeast at least) that summer is just around the corner.

For the first time, I used the revered Thomas Keller’s method of cooking fava beens – shuck first, then cook. I first read about it in his interviews in Michael Ruhlman’s Soul of a Chef, and then in Keller’s own French Laundry Cookbook. In theory, leaving the skin on the bean while it cooks traps gases inside which accelerate its oxidation. Shucking the beans before cooking preserves their color and flavor by allowing those gases to escape. I doubted if it really made a big difference, but now am totally convinced! Normally, I shell, then blanch, then shuck – the skins just slide right off this way. Still, no matter how careful I am to shuck the beans right after blanching, use tons of water to blanch, and make sure the favas are perfectly cooked, I can never avoid getting that little gray patch of oxidation that just seems to spread the longer the beans sit – and they’re always a little slimy. Well not this time. Have you ever seen cooked favas so green?

I used them to make Succotash. Not only did they stay that green in the fridge as I prepared the rest of my ingredients, they even kept their color after being mixed in and warmed up with the rest of the succotash.

Granted, shucking before cooking is more difficult and a little more time consuming, but I’m converted. In addition to the eye appeal, pre-shucking allows the beans to cook faster, absorb seasoning better, and allows you to better monitor doneness by actually seeing their color brighten as they cook.

How to get the Greenest Fava Beans Ever:

1. Shell the beans. Discard any that seem yellow or discolored.

2. Shuck the beans.

3. Fill a large pot fitted with a blanching basket or metal steamer plate with generously salted, rapidly boiling water.

4. Fill a large bowl or another large pot with ice water.

5. Cook the fava beans in boiling water. Make sure there is enough water so that it comes right back to a boil after adding the beans.

6. Once the beans turn bright green, taste a few to make sure they are cooked. Lift the beans out of the boiling water and immediately plunge them into the ice water. This will stop them from overcooking and will preserve their color.

Try it with this Recipe: Simplest Succotash

<p style=”text-align: justify;”><em>June 28th, 2009</em></p>
<p style=”text-align: justify;”>Dating back to colonial times, Succotash takes its name from the Narragansett <em>msickquatash</em>, a dish of corn and beans first introduced by Native Americans to English settlers. Summer Succotash typically refers to the dish made with fresh corn and beans, while Winter Succotash might be made with dried corn and beans stewed with meat. According to Evan Jones’ <em>American Food,</em> Native Americans froze their Winter Succotash, and would use a tomahawk to chip off pieces to melt over a fire as needed. Jones also describes several regional variations – lima beans were most often used in the South, while in New England, succotash might contain cranberry beans instead. The Pennsylvania Dutch were even known for adding dumplings. In the height of summer, when flavors are at their peak, it doesn’t take much to bring corn together with fresh beans and tomatoes to make a deliciously Simple Succotash.</p>
<p style=”text-align: center;”><img class=”aligncenter” src=”; alt=”” width=”450″ height=”338″ /></p>
<p style=”text-align: justify;”>Here is a very simple recipe for a buttery succotash with fresh fava beans and plum tomatoes. It’s a great addition to backyard barbecues.</p>
<p style=”text-align: justify;”>INGREDIENTS (serves 4-6)</p>
<p style=”text-align: justify;”>3-4 ears of fresh corn on the cob</p>
<p style=”text-align: justify;”>4 roma (plum) tomatoes, peeled, seeds removed, and diced</p>
<p style=”text-align: justify;”>1 cup fresh cooked fava beans, shelled and shucked</p>
<p style=”text-align: justify;”>1-2 large shallots, peeled finely diced</p>
<p style=”text-align: justify;”>2 large cloves of garlic, peeled and finely minced</p>
<p style=”text-align: justify;”>1/2 cup heavy cream</p>
<p style=”text-align: justify;”>2-3 Tbsp. butter</p>
<p style=”text-align: justify;”>salt</p>
<p style=”text-align: justify;”>cayenne pepper</p>
<p style=”text-align: justify;”>fresh lemon juice (optional)</p>
<p style=”text-align: justify;”>1-2 Tbsp. chopped fresh chives</p>
<p style=”text-align: justify;”>PROCEDURE:</p>
<p style=”text-align: justify;”>1. Prepare all the ingredients. Cut the corn kernels from the cob, then use a sturdy spoon to scrape the “milk” from the cob. Reserve both separately. See <a href=””>Peeling Fresh Tomatoes</a>, and <a href=””>Greenest Fava Beans Ever!</a> for tips on preparing the tomatoes and fava beans.</p>
<p style=”text-align: justify;”>2. In a shallow saucepan, melt a generous tablespoon of butter and cook the diced shallots over low heat until they are soft and transparent. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds until fragrant.</p>
<p style=”text-align: justify;”>3. Add the corn kernels and cook over medium heat just until they begin to turn bright yellow. Add the corn “milk” and heavy cream. Season with salt and a pinch of cayenne pepper and simmer over medium heat for 5-10 minutes so that the corn is cooked but still crisp, and the liquid is slightly reduced.</p>
<p style=”text-align: justify;”>4. Add the fava beans and tomatoes and just heat them through in the corn mixture. The mixture should not be soupy, but there should be enough liquid to coat all the ingredients. Remove from the heat, melt in a tablespoon of butter, and a dash of lemon juice if desired, and fresh chopped chives.</p>

<div id=”_mcePaste” style=”overflow: hidden; position: absolute; left: -10000px; top: 642px; width: 1px; height: 1px; text-align: justify;”>And theyeven stayed that green in the fridge as I prepared the rest of my ingredients, and after being mixed in and warmed up with the rest of the succotash.
<img class=”aligncenter” src=”; alt=”” width=”400″ height=”384″ /></div>

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