Tuesday, April 22, 2008

How to Peel a Fava Bean

Some of you may have noticed fava beans showing up in your local grocery stores. Because they are kind of funky and a bit intimidating, I thought I'd put together an instructional blog-post. It's actually kind of weird that I'm putting this together because I'm not the biggest fan of fava beans in their fresh, natural state. However, they ARE a major component in doubanjiang, my favorite Chinese hot bean paste. You'll find versions made with soybeans but those are inferior. *rubs fabric...Polyester, no good.* Inside joke.

So. This is a fava bean. Actually, this is the outer pod.Split it open and you'll see the individual beans. I suppose the pod could be edible but I'm not brave enough to try...just the beans for me:
See how nature has created a cozy little home for the beans? They've even got their own fuzzy padding!

Pluck out a bean:Did you think you were done? Not yet! The beans have their own skin which must be peeled! Some cookbooks blanch the beans before peeling the skin but in the French Laundry cookbook, TK tells us that gases can get trapped underneath the skin and cause discoloration. So, peel the beans before you blanch them.

The finished treat!Yes, slightly tedious but it's mindless enough so that you can do this while watching tv. So, what to do? I am definitely not the right person to ask but there are plenty of resources for online recipes.

In addition, I finally perfected crispy chicken skin. The technique? I first dried the chicken thighs with a paper towel and then left them to dry, skin side up, in a fridge. The fridge helps evaporate even more moisture from the skin...probably did this for about an hour. Then, a HOT cast iron pan and patience. I let them brown, skin side down for probably 8-10 minutes.I then flipped the thighs, scattered some thyme and chunked zucchini among the chicken and finished cooking it in a HOT oven. Around 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Yes, the zucchini was HELLA overcooked. Finished product:
Just look at that skin. Perfectly crispy, salty, delicious chicken skin. Soooooooo good. Ignore the zucchini. Blech. Dipping sauce for the chicken was meyer lemon juice, honey, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper.

Lastly, I've run out!!! This stuff is amazing. Blis maple syrup...you might think it's plain maple syrup but this is AGED IN BOURBON BARRELS!!!! Yes, you can taste the difference. Someone send me more!!!! See ya!


George said...

What wine would you suggest for liver and fava beans? How about a nice chianti?

Mike Czyzewski said...

I told you that the book has "amarone" instead of "chianti", right?