The farm-to-table movement has encouraged the reemergence and growth of farmers markets across the country. In Chicago, there are farmer’s markets in neighborhoods throughout the city. One of the largest of these markets is the Green City Market in Lincoln Park. Farmers markets are a great source for fresh, local, seasonal produce. One of the first vegetables to arrive at the farmers market each year is fava beans. Fava beans have a delicate flavor and pair perfectly with mint in a fava bean and mint spread or a salad of arugula, mint, and fava beans with lemon vinaigrette.
Fava Bean and Mint Spread
Makes 1 cup
- 1 cup fresh fava beans, double shelled*
- 20 mint leaves
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper, coarsely ground
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Prepare the fava beans by snapping off the stem, stringing the pod, and removing the beans. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Heavily salt the boiling water and add the fava beans. Cook the fava beans for 1 minute. Remove from the boiling water and plunge the fava beans into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and set the green color. Once the fava beans are cool enough to handle, shell the beans a second time by breaking the shell and pushing out the bright green bean.
Combine the fava beans, mint, salt, and pepper in a food processor. Pulse the ingredients until coarsely chopped. Add the olive oil and pulse once or twice more to combine.
Serve the fava bean and mint spread with handcrafted artisan cheese or salami and a selection of crackers and bread.
*Purchase approximately 2 ½ pounds of fava beans for every cup of double shelled beans needed in the recipe.