Fava beans, or broad beans, are a member of the pea family that have been popular since Ancient Egypt.
Fava beans were first culitvated in North Egypt and the Middle East, but they were also introduced into the diets of ancient Greeks and Romans. Most fava bean dishes are made with a young, large variety (hence the name broad bean) that is tender and flavorful. The classical French application calls for each individual bean to be shelled of its skin; for most younger beans, this is an unnecessary step, but this labor of love does yield an extremely tender result. There is also a smallish, hard, wild variety known as horse or field beans that is historically used for animal feed. Fava beans are laden with folate, iron, potassium, Vitamin K, and B vitamins. Most Americans came to cook fava beans by way of Italy and the Mediterranean. Fava bean risotto is a well-known application for these young beans. If you grow fava beans yourself (or are in good with your local farmers) very young fava beans picked at the early bloom of spring can be prepared and eaten in the pod, much like sugar snap peas. Because fava beans lie between a pea and a bean, their flavor profile is nestled somewhere betwixt as well. Fava beans have a very tender, smooth texture and are buttery and earthy. Fava beans love herbs and ingredients heavy with umami- aside from risotto they're often found in soup and pasta dishes.
Recipes with Fava Bean