This morning my wife handed me this article and it gave me a big smile. The social gatherings around fava was more than I expected but my interest lies in the cleaning process and how to best treat the fava to optimize the taste. It is the season for fava and each time I enter the market in Aoyama I see lots of fava now of the year.
My methods to clean fava is something I am willing to share and I am not 100% Zen about it. The gem hidden behind the fuzzy walls sounds more like edamame and soremame. The fava is hidden behind a long jacket and when you open the bean inside is a shelled jacket with the treasure inside.
I used to slice the germ’s end – the black part of the bean and then drop them into water until I see the skins turning white and the problem is over cooking them makes them mushy and under cooking them causes the bean to stay yellowish and not green.
I still discuss with myself the merits of opening the end before boiling and is this a wise idea or a faux pas? I doubt many chefs spend so much time thinking about the bean extraction and cooking of fava. So, the beans can be cooked either by maintaining them in their shell, or removing it as the article says with a thumb nail.
In Japan, it is tricky to cut the skin with your nail and when you are faced with 50 or so fava, it becomes a time-consuming exercise to nail through the fava.
I use a knife either before or after cooking them and I’ve found it is better to cut them in advance and have the boiling water make contact, or risk having some uncooked fava. No doubt cutting the end or removing the fava from the shell is the best technique but I do not necessarily shock them in cold water.
I find shocking them in ice-cold cold water sometimes causes the bean to become cooled too quickly and the texture can be affected. I slow them with cold water but not ice-cold unless they are in the skin. However, you can experiment yourself and find the best way to manage the fava cooling process.
Recently I was at a 2 star Michelin and the chef toom the fava and cooked them in sweetened water and then torched them at the last-minute /skin off/ and then the fava was carmelized. I thought this was a cool idea to examine in the future. At the same time the purity of the bean soaked in some virgin olive oil can be wonderful, or using some Da Cesare Barolo vinegar gives some more depth, yet not too much vinegar.
The fava is a ingredient that symbolizes sping-summer a transition time in Japan, and enjoy this green wonder or beware of favism a genetic disorder G6PD effecting 400 million people worldwide.