Thursday, July 24, 2008

Snack Time: Fava Beans with Pecorino Romano

I got that look again the other day. The one like I have two heads. The person giving me this look is one of my child's teachers. The one that doesn't see a problem with giving candy as a reward for good behavior.

I was explaining why I pack my child's milk in her lunch and do not just let her drink what the school provides. I was trying to find a way to address rBGH. Then the glazed over, "Lady, you are just nuts" look appears. It's not easy being the crazy lady sometimes.

Take this whole concept of "snack" foods. For some reason, the processed food industry got a toehold into the convenience food market and while we were munching on 42-percent-potato-58-percent-God-knows-what Pringles, they took over the whole category. If there is one single aisle to skip at the grocery store, "snacks" is the one.

Around the crazy woman's household (me) snacks tend to be nuts (the actual kind), fruit, dried fruit, yogurt and sometimes even vegetables. Like the following dish. Which also makes a great appetizer, by the way.

Now, if you have had canned fava beans, forget those. Those are not fava beans. Fava beans are green, not brown, and the tough outer layer should be removed. Canned beans still have this layer. The texture is awful. If they had flavor, that would be awful as well.

Ah, but fresh favas? This is not an everyday snack. The favas first have to be shelled, then the beans need to be blanched for two minutes and shocked in a bath of ice water. Once this is done, it's easy to remove the tough outer skins, revealing the tender, sweet and very "green" flavored beans. It takes a bit of time, so, no, not an everyday treat.

You can find these fresh in your farmers market early summer in the Midwest and South, and right about now if you are farther north.

Fava Beans with Pecorino Romano
Looking for this recipe? It will be part of an upcoming book with Ali at Cleaner Plate Club.

And, one that gets eaten by a three-year-old while playing Sesame Street games on Mommy's computer. Served with blanched and chilled fresh green beans as a side. For a snack.

Hey, don't look at me like that. I am not crazy. Not in a bad way.


Deb Bixler said...

Fresh or at least fresh frozen fava beans are right up there with edamame as a favorite snack for me. I can eat both like popcorn

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MamaBird said...

You are pretty rockin. I can say right now that something I have to shell and then blanch is going to be a raaaare treat for us but I am 100% with you on the milk and school food/treats in general. I just try to control what we eat in the home and what goes INTO the lunch bag. Remembering fondly all the times I traded pimento-creamcheese on whole wheat for a Hostess Ding Dong. Full circle! ;)

Rachel said...

why am I *not* surprised that Kiddo likes the Sesame Street games on the Internet!? It's one of Jess's favorite sites. Damn, B, this has got to end somewhere!?

You really need to move down to Melbourne; in our area, you'd be smack bang normal in terms of snacks and preferences. Our creche recently explained to us all that part of the reason they were hiking daily fees by $2 was because they had to source a new organic produce supplier. As I've mentioned before, our creche, like many in Victoria, has a kitchen and a cook that makes lunches from scratch every day.

Like I said, honey, you'd be normal here! ;-)

jen said...

is it wrong that i always think of Silence of the Lambs when fava beans are up for discussion?

Expatriate Chef said...

Me normal? Ah, that would be cool. I do wish you were my neighbor, Rachel. In fact, all of you that leave comments are pretty fascinating people. I'm a lucky girl. Even if my own family thinks I am weird.

Rachel said...

Jen: only if you then start sizing up random strangers and estimating the size of their sweetbreads...

Expatriate Chef said...

Ugh ... heh. Yeah, I have the added bonus of having stood in the exact Chalks sea plane landing pad where the movie was shot with that phone call being made. That was the islands I lived in way back.

Discounted Dinnerware Sets said...

You really need to move down to Melbourne; in our area, you'd be smack bang normal in terms of snacks and preferences.

Melamine Set said...

These look like a great way to incorporate more beans into my diet! Gonna try it out.