Peel me a bean

Illustration By Mark Stivers

Many spring vegetables have an air of luxury about them, requiring a little extra-but-worth-it fuss or expense—think asparagus; baby artichokes; green garlic; or that rare commodity, truly fresh tiny peas—but none more so than fava beans. They don’t seem too pricey, until you think about the yield after you’ve popped the beans out of their fuzzy pods, blanched them and then laboriously peeled them one by one. You get about a cup of edible material per pound. That’s why most favas are probably eaten in restaurants, where they have wonderful fava-peeling machines called prep cooks. If you have a spare hour or two, however, or dinner guests who’ve innocently offered to help, favas are perfect simply sautéed with plenty of olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Add lemon juice and fresh mint. It’s the ultimate spring indulgence, even if each person only gets a few bites.