This recipe for Fava Beans with Prosciutto + Cream is an easy and delicious recipe for spring! Creamy fava beans with salty prosciutto, simmered in a luscious sauce and finished with fresh chives.
Last week, Chaser called me from his office in a concerned, perplexed voice, “Hey Cole – what does fah-vas prosecution and cream mean?”
“What?” At first I was totally confused, but then it occurred to me what had happened. You see, Chaser and I share a google calendar, and while he sticks to logging actual important events (like submitting drawings to the city, planning board meetings, etc.), I find myself most productive when I schedule out even the most mundane tasks (go for a run, wash the sheets, buy toilet paper, blog about things). Unfortunately for him, they show up on his calendar too, although at this point in the game, I assumed he just ignored them.
Prosecution and cream: what a weird concept. What could it mean?? Maybe it’s the title of a creepy Law and Order episode… Or a court room themed adult film? Maybe it’s a hot new rap duo about to drop their mix tape, or a throwback musical project from Eric Clapton? Could it mean something entirely different? What on earth could I be doing with PROSECUTION and CREAM that I’m not telling him about!?
No. This was merely the result of autocorrect trying to decipher my intentions after hastily typing boring tasks into the calendar. Prosciutto and cream certainly sounds better than prosecution and cream, but leaves far less to the imagination. We’re still laughing about it – it’s the little things, you guys.
Cool story, right?
Anyway, lets talk about fava beans; also known to many as broad beans. Soft and creamy with a nutty, fresh flavor, favas have become one of my favorite Springtime veggies. In fact, I love them so much, this year I planted a few in my garden. They’ve sprouted up into tall, healthy stalks, and (fingers crossed) if the pesky aphids don’t take them down first, I’ll have a lovely harvest in a few weeks.
But, you guys, favas harbor a dirty little secret: They’re a total pain in the neck to prep. First they need to be shucked out of the pod like peas, then each individual bean needs to be peeled as well. Mother shucker!
It’s truly a labor of love, and the process can actually be pretty zen, even therapeutic, if you let it. Favas are rich and buttery on their own, but when paired with salty, funky prosciutto and a touch of cream, they’re absolutely ethereal. So good, they should be taken to court and prosecuted. Zing! (See what I did there?? Oh, you did. It was obvious? Ok, cool.)
Fava beans are nearing their peak right about now, so if you see them at the market (locals: find them at Mazzeo’s) and don’t mind the labor, grab a bunch and give this recipe a try. I promise, it will most definitely be worth the effort.
- 1 pound freshly shucked fava beans; roughly 3 1/2 cups (from about 3 pounds of pods)
- 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/4 lb thinly sliced prosciutto, roughly chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
- 1/4 lemon, squeezed (about 1–2 teaspoons)
- 2 tablespoons minced chives
To Cook and Peel the Fava Beans
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and liberally season with salt. It should taste like the ocean. Prepare an ice bath and set aside. If the favas vary greatly in size, separate them into two piles: one larger and one smaller.
- Drop the larger favas into the boiling water first and allow to cook for about 90 seconds, then drop in the smaller beans. Cook for about 2 minutes longer, or until the beans are tender throughout (cook time will depend on their size so be sure to check).
- Drain the beans and immediately submerge in the ice bath. Once cool, strain, then remove the peel from each individual bean. After blanching, they should slip right off.
To Prepare the Dish
- Place the olive oil and prosciutto in a large saucepan over medium heat and sauté until the prosciutto has rendered down and crisped up, about 4 minutes. Pour out any fat in the pan so there is only 1 tsp remaining.
- Add in the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds, then pour in the cream. Bring up to a boil and allow the cream to reduce by half. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Add in the peeled fava beans and continue cooking for about 2 more minutes until the sauce has tightened up and the flavors have melded together. Squeeze the lemon in to brighten up the sauce, taste, and adjust the seasoning as needed. Garnish with chives and serve immediately, right out of the pan.
- Choose fava beans that are fresh looking, not too big, bright green and firm.
- Serving Size: 4