I am seeing fresh favas show up at more and more markets both in my own area and across food blogs. This is a happy circumstance and if you haven’t found them at your local farmer’s market start pummeling your local farmers to grow them. I dislike dried favas a great deal but eaten fresh they are nutty and a little sweet (much like peas) and versatile.
I can’t get enough of them which is why I usually grow at least one bed of them in my own garden. I missed out this year which is really cramping my style because their season is super short and once you see them at the farmer’s market you may only have two weeks to take advantage of them. They don’t keep well in storage. (Take note when buying them and putting them in the fridge: you have a maximum of two days to get those suckers shucked and blanched before they will go off).
I usually try to get people to try favas in my grilled polenta recipe but right now, I want you to try this recipe and play with it while you have the chance. There are so many ways you could alter what I offer here to suit your personal tastes and to expand it. This is simple and pretty fast to make.
Asparagus and Fresh Fava Couscous
1 1/2 cups couscous
1 Tbsp olive oil
3 cups water
1/3 cup olive oil
1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1″-2″ pieces
1 cup fresh shelled favas (a good sized produce bag of unshelled), skin removed
6 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
1/2 bunch basil, julienned
8 oz feta, crumbled
2/3 cup mustard vinaigrette to dress it with
Make the couscous according the directions HERE.
In a large saute pan heat 1/3 cup olive oil on med/high heat. Add the asparagus and the shelled beans. Do not walk away. You need to stir this frequently or the beans will stick to the bottom of the pan. When the asparagus and beans start to brown, add the garlic and saute just until they start to brown. Turn the heat off and add the basil.
Add the couscous to the vegetables and toss really well. Add the feta and the dressing and toss really well again. Eat.
Recipe Notes: About trimming the asparagus- I cut a good 2 to 3 inches off the bottoms and that’s not always enough. I cut the stems into 1″ pieces and then left the tops a little longer. About preparing favas- yeah, they’re a little work but they’re worth it. Be sure to blanch the beans and then remove the outer skin. I failed to weigh the unshelled bag of favas I bought but did measure the shelled beans. I don’t think you need to get your knickers in a twist over this one. Just get a good sized bag of favas and it will be perfect.
I added no salt or pepper to this recipe because I used a vinaigrette to dress it which already has seasonings in it. If you don’t like vinaigrette I suggest you use plain olive oil instead but use only 1/3 cup of it and then salt and pepper the dish. Be careful though, because the feta adds quite a bit of salt on its own.
If you are vegan I would ditch the feta and use one cup of green olives very rougly chopped if they’re large, or left whole if they’re small. You could use kalamatas instead but I really think green here would be the best. While this dish will still be good without either feta or olives, I think it makes the dish much more exciting.
This makes a lot. I don’t cook in small amounts. If you want to halve the recipe it’s not at all difficult. Halve everything and make only 3/4 cup couscous to 1 1/2 cups water.