How do you know it’s spring? The birds are chirping, the sun is out, and your local produce market is stocking baby artichokes, fava beans, and ramps. And, well, it’s April, but for New York City that does not necessarily define the weather or the season. But back to the produce – I picked up some fava beans and artichokes at the market yesterday. Fresh favas are a bit tedious to work with, because you have to peel them twice – first to get the beans out of the pod, and second to get the tough outer skin off the beans. Do not, I repeat, do not try to eat the favas with the outer skins on because they are fresh and probably pretty tender – the skins are rough and will do nothing for your taste buds.
You can do many things with favas – puree them, make soup out of them, or you can eat them raw. But everything tastes better with bacon…so here is the recipe for the delicious succotash.
1 1/2 pounds of fresh fava beans, in shells
1 medium carrot
3/4 cups of frozen roast corn
4 ounces of pancetta
1/2 teaspoon of sherry vinegar
I’ve never cooked with fresh favas before, which is why I grossly underestimated the amount of beans I would need. A pound and a half of beans yields barely a cup of actual beans, so I had little to much on while I put the meal together. Depending on your preferences, you may want to buy extras, and young favas are also delicious raw.
Bring a pot of water to a boil, and salt generously. While the water comes up to a boil, shell the favas and set up a bowl of ice water.
Boil the shelled favas for a minute or two. Drain and plunge into ice water so that the beans stop cooking.
Drain and peel the tough outer shells. You will be left with about a cup of beans.
Chop the carrot into small dice and place into a pot of boiling hot water. Boil until tender. Drain.
Place pancetta in a heated pan and cook until crispy. Add frozen corn and cook until heated through. Add favas and carrots, and salt to taste. Remove to a bowl and add the sherry vinegar.
I served the succotash warm with roast barbeque chicken thighs and boiled young potatoes with dill and butter.