This is one of my go-to spring recipes. While asparagus, morels, and ramps tend to get all the attention, broad (fava) beans languish in obscurity, a shame given their grassy flavor, hearty texture, and the distinction of being one of the few beans we eat fresh out of the pod. They also have the fortune of playing quite well with dill.
The trick, if there is one to this recipe, is quality of ingredients. With so few of them, freshness is essential. Broad beans are best when they're young and the pods are tight, bright green—they barely require much cooking. And if you've been eyeing that fancy European butter and spendy Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, now is the time to splurge. You'll be rewarded with something completely fresh and satisfying.
- 12 cups water
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 shallots, minced
- 1 pound broad (fava) beans (about 4 cups; 2 1/2 pounds in pods)
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 large bunch dill, minced
- Lemon juice, if desired
Bring water to boil in a large pot and salt liberally. Add beans and boil until just tender (about 5 minutes). Drain beans and thoroughly rinse well under cold water.
Melt butter over medium-low heat heat in a large, straight-sided skillet, stir in shallots and salt liberally. Cook until shallots are very soft and aromatic, about five minutes, then add beans. Stir to coat beans with butter and cook for one minute, then add Parmesan, and stir until Parmesan melts.
Remove from heat and stir in dill. Add salt to taste and lemon juice if desired. Serve immediately.