Saturday morning found me early morning traversing the well-worn paths of the PSU Farmers’ Market and coming home with a three pound catch of the best kind.
Fresh fava beans.
I hadn’t planned on it — in fact, I was looking for other things.
Like this amazing bread from Fressen Bakery.
And these fresh porcini mushrooms.
And cheese from Ancient Dairy and fresh flowers.
I picked up more bread from Pearl Bakery and then these little lovelies found their way into my basket, too.
If you’ve never had Oregon strawberries, you cannot believe how succulent and sweet they are — the best ones I’ve EVER had.
And then I stumbled upon these — and I knew I couldn’t leave the market without them.
As I’m sure you know, fava bean’s season is a short but a delicious one; when I used to cook at Greens Restaurant we used to jump on their arrival with wild abandon.
Risottos. Pastas. Pizzas. Salads. Crostini.
The last couple days have been a similar fava bean blow-out — but first came the shelling.
Charlotte and I sat out on the front porch with a couple bowls and got to work.
I’d never had her help with this task before but she proved to be a deft, quick learner; before I knew it, she was stripping the large, fuzzy beans of their little verdant pearls at twice my speed.
We sat there, revelling in the warmth of the late afternoon sun on our faces and enjoying the flurry of finches about us.
It was then that I had one of those moments.
You know the ones; when you feel suddenly and unexpectedly grateful.
When you are 100% in the moment and you are truly listening to someone — and not trying to hurry them up, or jump in, or relate verbally.
A moment untethered by electronics or diluted by the pressing need to multi-task.
The two of us could have been in another century and in a different country — just two gals enjoying quiet hand work, side-by-side. Quietly. Peacefully. Happily.
We shelled, a neighbor came by to say hello (and even peeled a few favas as well), and before you knew it, we had a little stash.
I blanched them for two minutes and then peeled away their little pale jackets. I then tossed them while still warm with lemon juice and zest, a tiny bit of olive oil and lots of Maldon salt.
It may have only been shy two cups, but I knew favas when seasoned and used well can make a big impact.
It was time to put those beauties to good use.
Like dinner Sunday.
A Mediterranean-inspired salad with avocado, tomatoes and shrimp with lots of crumbled feta.
Another dinner of shrimp and feta burritos (I made a cilantro pesto and drizzled that on, too).
I made myself a breakfast of toast from that amazing loaf from Fressen Bakery. One slice had goat cheese and those sliced Hood strawberries and the other a quick mash of avocado, black pepper and fava beans.
(Now that’s what I call a Breakfast of Champions!)
And yesterday, I discovered one of my favorite ways to enjoy favas — a sandwich featuring a Fava Bean Smash.
It was ridiculously easy; half of the favas I smashed in a mortar and pestle and the other half I pulsed in my Vitamix.
I added the two prepped fava bowls together and then all it needed was a little lemon juice and zest, fresh garlic, salt, pepper and a little bit of my best olive oil.
Assembly was a breeze.
Behold my Avocado, Roast Turkey, Fava Bean and Basil Sandwich.
My avocado sported the perfect ripeness and the tiny bit of Mama Lil’s peppers added just a touch of heat.
Man that sandwich was one for the record books.
With every gluttonous bite I kept thinking, “Is this sandwich for real? Could it really be that delicious?”
(Yes, it really was.)
And so people, I urge you to get those fava beans while you can.
Food like this only comes along once a year.