In southern Germany, where I come from, fava beans are called “Saubohnen” (sow beans) – not a very promising name. No wonder that I didn’t encounter those beans in my previous culinary experiences.
But then I bought this lovely tuscan cooking book which is in fact a lot more than just a simple cooking book: it is a journey through rural tuscan villages and their famous “sagre”. Sagre are traditional village fairs often dedicated to a special agricultural product or food.
You can find them throughout the whole year and not only in tuscany. Nearly everything is celebrated: roast pork, chestnut, strawberry, baccalà (stockfish), … and there are also some “sagre della fava” in various italian villages. The traditional italian way of preparing fava beans is very simple: as a salad, marinated only with sea salt, pepper and olive oil, complemented by shaved or diced pecorino cheese and a slice of bread.
After my shopping trip to the turkish shop where I bought about two handful of fava bean pods (could have been a bit more), turkish bread (and a lot of other delicious food such as sucuk, the turkish garlic sausage, but this is another story…), I started my own fava bean experiment.
You do need a bit of patience when trying to get to the core of those beans. Because after you got all the beans out of their pods, in a second step you have to squeeze the grean beans out of their skin. Doing it with your fingernails is the best way.
I wanted to give my bean salad a fresh, tasty dressing – to admit the truth: the beans don’t have a very intense taste. For this I mixed the juice of one lemon with two tablespoons of olive oil, sea salt and pepper, adding about a tablespoon of each parsley and coriander. Then I gave the beans a chance to soak the dressing.
I love coriander, but I am totally aware that there are a lot of people who can’t share this enthusiasm. The taste of fresh coriander is definetely intense – so, if you belong to the coriander-hater-party, just leave it out. Mint should be also a nice herb to add to this salad which I will maybe try next time.
Best about this dressing is: it is a two-in-one salad dressing and marinade for the grilled chicken breast I served with the bean salad! I marinated the chicken for about one hour before I grilled it in my grilling pan.
I served the fava bean salad with shaved parmesan, the grilled chicken breast and turkish pita bread.