Fresh fava beans come around only once a year for a very short period of time. They are difficult to find in stores though they are becoming more readily available at farmer’s markets. I usually grow my own because they are such an easy crop to grow and yield well even in less than ideal conditions. They require some preparation for cooking, but are well worth the effort! This is a recipe I make every single year when the fava beans come in. I usually serve it with grilled onions, potatoes, and mushrooms, and a marinara sauce. It makes a great early summer meal.
1.5 cups polenta/corn meal (I generally use corn meal)
6 cups water
2 cups fresh shelled favas
4 Tbsp butter (optional)
2 cloves garlic (pressed)
1 teaspoon salt
many grinds fresh pepper
Bring the 6 cups of water to a roiling boil in a larg sauce pan. Whisk the cornmeal into the water in a steady stream. When it’s all whisked in and as smooth as you can get it, turn the burner down to low. Put a lid on the pot, and let it cook until almost ready. If you’re using a medium grind of polenta it could take 45 minutes to cook. I use either a finely ground polenta or corn meal which is usually completely cooked in about ten or fifteen minutes.
Add the fava beans, butter, garlic, salt, and pepper to the pot and stir well. Put the lid back on the pot and let cook for an additional five minutes. Stir really well a couple of times before removing from the heat.
Pour the polenta onto a cookie sheet and spread it out with a spatula until it is evenly covering the whole cookie sheet. Let it cool until it has stiffened. This takes about a half an hour. You can make this polenta a day in advance of using it if you like. It will keep for several days in the fridge if properly covered.
Using a biscuit cutter (large size) cut the sheet of polenta into rounds. You should get between 12 and 14 rounds. Keep the trimmings to eat for lunch with marinara sauce or to fry up the next morning with eggs.
Coat each side of your rounds with a marinade or oil before grilling.
Recipe Notes: The butter in this recipe is optional. You can either substitute it with olive oil or you can omit it all together. I like adding it because it makes the polenta creamier and the butter compliments all the other flavors. I have made it many times without and loved this recipe just as much. You can add more salt if you like saltier food. I tend to use less salt than many people.