Fava Beans

Illustrations by John BurgoynePhoto: Kang Kim

If snap peas are the definition of gustatory ease, favas—with their imposing pods and skins that cooks spend resentful hours peeling—are their polar opposite. Except, that is, if you follow this liberating recipe from Il Buco’s Ignacio Mattos, who picked it up from a few Mexican members of his kitchen crew. If they’re young and tender enough, favas can be grilled and consumed whole—pods, skins, and all (except for that fibrous string that holds it all together). You can find local favas at Norwich Meadows Farm and Yuno’s Farm stands at the Union Square Greenmarket through July.

Ignacio Mattos’s Grilled Favas

1 pound fresh fava beans in their pods, the younger the better
1 teaspoon fleur de sel
1 teaspoon ground chile pepper
1 teaspoon picked rosemary
3 or 4 cloves chopped garlic
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to finish
2 tablespoons water
1 whole lemon, for juice
7 or 8 canned anchovies, in oil
Handful of toasted bread crumbs

Mix first 7 ingredients together in a large bowl. (1) Toss to coat the fava pods, then place them on the grill over medium heat. (2) Grill favas for several minutes, until charred, then flip them over and char the other side, cooking until the pods seem about to open. Remove pods from grill, return them to the mixing bowl, and (3) squeeze the lemon over them. Toss the pods to coat. Check the seasoning, and add salt if necessary. Chop the anchovies, and add them to the bowl, mixing well. Place the pods on a serving platter, drizzle to taste with olive oil, and sprinkle the bread crumbs on top. Serve hot or at room temperature, with steak or whole grilled fish.

Fava Beans