Chilled Fava Bean Soup

Chilled Fava Bean Soup

Ah, fresh fava beans. Who else first heard of this legume via Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs? If so, it was a most disturbing way one can be introduced to a new food (and I am amongst those). No, I didn’t eat fava beans for a good long time after seeing that movie, but it wasn’t because I was afraid. It was because I never did encounter them, least of all fresh and whole still in their pods, until some twenty years later, at farmers markets in my city.

Ingredients

  • Ah, fresh fava beans. Who else first heard of this legume via Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs? If so, it was a most disturbing way one can be introduced to a new food (and I am amongst those). No, I didn’t eat fava beans for a good long time after seeing that movie, but it wasn’t because I was afraid. It was because I never did encounter them, least of all fresh and whole still in their pods, until some twenty years later, at farmers markets in my city.
  • I had a lot of things to learn about fava beans, and growing pains along the way. Did I know that they were best eaten not just removed from the pods but extracted from the tough sheath of skin over each bean? No, not at first. I just sort of plowed into fava beans, fresh and dried, thinking they behaved like most any… bean when dried? Or pea when fresh? I wasn’t sure. This confusion was exacerbated several years ago by a chef friend of mine who was fond of grilling the pods whole over an open flame, dressed in a thin coat of olive oil and salt. The resulting beans were steamed inside, and the pods were charred and softened, so that you could really eat them whole by hand, leaving only the fibrous strings that held the pods together after taking a gigantic, sliding bite.
  • That was fun, but it tends to work only with really small, tender pods of fava beans. To get substantially-sized fava beans, look for the older, bigger pods, with the beans bulging from the inside. These beans are best shelled completely then removed of their outer skins. I did that with a good number of pods, by steaming them first to soften both pod and bean-skins, making them easier to separate from the vibrant green beans.
  • Then, you’re left with a much smaller portion of edible foodstuff than the hulking bag you dragged home from the market. Maybe you could take Dr. Lecter’s advice and enjoy them with liver and Chianti, but I made a chilled, summery soup instead. Aren’t you glad?
Read the whole recipe on Not Eating Out in New York