I have a weakness for fresh fava beans, which reach their peak between May and June. Only then, are they young and so very smooth and buttery in texture. After that, fava beans tend to get starchy and lose their tenderness. So, once a year in the spring, I indulge. And then, patiently wait for their return the following spring.
What to do with fresh favas?
A very common and simple preparation is to peel and quickly blanch, and then mash favas into a puree (a little Parmesan, perhaps), which makes a great, seasonal topping for crostini. I previously did a mashed potato and fava bean version with plenty of peppery olive oil and fresh herbs (such as rosemary, thyme, or summer savory) — simple and delicious. Last year, I used fresh fava beans in this yummy Umbrian stew. Hmm, what else can you do with them? Suggestions? Ideas that I can let marinate for next year (as, sadly, they will be gone all too soon).
Ultimately decided to make a puree with fresh peas and stuff them into some wonton wrappers. Who doesn’t like dumplings? Especially when they are pan-fried and get all nice and crispy on the outside…
Not the prettiest dumplings you’ve ever seen….even after watching a few demos online, I couldn’t seem to figure out how to fold them quite the way I envisioned. Another reason to make some more dumplings and practice my technique.
Good thing, because I have lots of ideas for fillings, the possibilities are endless…
I previously made a shrimp and lamb dumpling with a black bean dressing that I have yet to post (just too many ideas floating around in my head and not enough time to make them all).
Since fava beans have a low yield once you remove them from their pods, I incorporated fresh green peas into the puree.
Fava beans are a labor of love. You need to peel them, twice…but once a year, I think they are well worth the effort.
First, shell the beans from their pods, drop the beans into a pot of boiling water, a minute or two to loosen their skins, drain and cool in an ice water bath to retain their bright green color. Then, you need to peel them again. The beans should slip right out of their skins as seen below.
Pan-Fried Fava Bean and Pea Dumplings
makes about 30 dumplings
Place about 2 teaspoons of filling in the middle of a wrapper. Use your finger to rub water around the edges of the wrapper. Fold to desired shape. Repeat with the remaining filling.
Pan-Frying the Dumplings: Heat 1-2 tablespoons oil (or rosemary olive oil; see below) in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is very hot, place the dumplings in a single layer, flat side down. Let the dumplings cook 2-4 minutes, or until the bottoms are golden brown. Add ~1/2 cup of water to the pan or so it fills about 1/4-inch of the pan. Cover and reduce heat to medium. Cook about 5-7 minutes, or until all the water evaporates. Repeat with the remaining dumplings.
Fava and Green Pea Filling
1 1/2 pounds fresh peas in their pods
1 1/2 pounds fresh fava beans in their pods
1 small shallot, minced
3-4 garlic scapes, chopped (substitute 2 cloves of garlic, minced)
4 tablespoons rosemary garlic oil (see recipe below)
1/2 cup loosely packed mint, chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Preparing the peas: Shell the peas. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Once the water reaches a boil, blanch the peas for a minute or two. With a slotted spoon transfer to an ice water bath, to preserve their bright green color. Drain.
Preparing the fava beans: Shell the fava beans. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Once the water has come to a boil, blanch the beans for a minute or two to loosen their skins. Drain and cool in an ice water bath, to preserve their bright green color. Peel the beans, using your thumbnail to tear the skin at one end, then squeeze to pop the bean from its skin.
Add the blanched and shelled peas and fava beans to a food processor.
Heat one tablespoon of rosemary-infused olive oil in a medium skillet. Add the shallot and saute a few minutes until translucent and tender. Add the garlic or garlic scapes, and saute another minute. Add to the food processor along with the peas and fava beans. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of the rosemary infused olive oil, the rosemary leaves (from the infused oil), mint, and season with salt and pepper. Pulse until combined but still a bit chunky.
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
3-4 chile de arbol
1 sprig rosemary
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Add the garlic, chile, rosemary, and olive oil to a small pot. Place over very low heat and gently simmer for 8-10 minutes, until the garlic is tender. Remove from the heat, let cool. Transfer to a glass container.
Soy-Lime Dipping Sauce
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1 red Thai chile, thinly sliced
1/4 cup soy or tamari
Juice of 1 lime
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
In a bowl, whisk all the ingredients to combine.
makes about 30 wrappers
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water
Corn starch (so that you can stack the wrappers without sticking to one another)
Place the flour into a large bowl. Make a well in the middle and add the egg and water mixture. Mix in with the flour. Add as much of the remaining water as necessary to form a dough.
Form the dough into a ball and knead for about 5 minutes, or until it forms a smooth dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll out until very thin, and cut into 3 1/2-inch squares or rounds. Sprinkle each wrapper lightly with corn starch to prevent them from sticking and stack on top of one another.