One of my absolute favorite spring vegetables, fava beans are tender, nutty, and slightly sweet like fresh peas. They have been popping up early in the bay this season, so I had to get my hands on them. I will say, they are a commitment. You have to go through two rounds of shelling and a quick blanche to get to their tasty core. Fava bean mash is a classic preparation of these spring gems, and I like to elevate mine with za’atar, yogurt, feta, pickled red onions, and lots of fresh herbs.
Makes about 1 cup fava bean mash
For the fava bean mash
- 3.5 pounds fava beans in the pod
- 1 tbs + ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ tsp lemon zest
- 1 tbs lemon juice, or more to taste
- ¼ tsp za’atar
- Pinch of chili flakes
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Full fat greek yogurt or labneh
- Picked mixed herbs, mint, dill, cilantro, or parsley recommended.
- Pickled red onions
- Feta cheese
- Olive oil
- Crunchy salt
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.
- Shuck the beans from their pods. Prepare a bowl filled with ice water, large enough to fit all of the beans.
- Drop the beans in the boiling water, cook for 2 minutes.
- Drain the beans and immediately plunge into the ice bath. Let cool.
- Using your hands (fingernails help), carefully remove the thin, translucent, outer shell of each bean, revealing a bright green center.
- Head a pan with 1 tbs of olive oil. Saute the garlic until fragrant.
- Add the now shelled fava beans and stir to saute for 2-3 minutes.
- Add ¼ cup water and saute until the water is absorbed. Cover, remove from heat, and let sit 10 minutes.
- Place the beans and garlic mixture in a bowl and use a wooden spoon or pestle to mash the favas into a chunky paste. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, za’atar, chili flakes, and ⅛ cup olive oil. Taste, season with salt and pepper to your liking. Add the additional ⅛ cup olive oil if needed to get to your desired consistency.
- Spread yogurt onto your toasts and top with your fava bean mash. Top with feta, red onions, herbs, a drizzle of olive oil, and crunchy salt to taste.