The “bell bean” favas you’ve heard me mention when I talk about our winter cover crop are not the edible kind, however their close cousins, the commonly known “broad beans” are. They are much larger, fat and oval. The edible Fava beans are a kind of shell bean, not as well known in America like they are among people living in Mediterranean countries. In Italy, when favas are in season, the Romans are known to go on countryside picnics where they feast on raw fava beans with cold white wine. The beans are spread out on newspaper, shelled, and sprinkled with Romano cheese.
One of the more tedious aspects of preparing fava beans has always been shelling and peeling them. The naked little beans are worth the trouble, but you still wind up throwing out about two thirds of what you started out with. Elisa was excited to help me with the shelling for dinner. I like to eat them with their skins, but if you like to peal them the skin slips off easily once they have been steamed or slightly boiled (1 min). Enjoy!