A land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey... Deuteronomy 8:8
Charred fava beans, dating to 4500 B.C.E., were unearthed at Yiftah’el, near Nazareth. The ancient Hebrews either ate the beans raw, dipped in salt or boiled, flavored with olive oil and garlic.
Yield: Serves 4
2 pounds fresh, young fava beans (those in 3 to 4-inch pods)
½ cup water
¼ cup olive oil
3 green onions
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
½ teaspoon cumin seed, toasted and ground
Salt to taste
Remove beans from pods. It’s not necessary to peel the seed coats from young beans. For larger beans, use your thumbnail to pierce the hilum (the small bump where bean attaches to pod). Squeeze bean between thumb and forefinger until seed coat slips off.
In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine water, fava beans, and one tablespoon olive oil. Cook, covered, until tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, trim onions and cut crosswise into ¼-inch slices.
Drain fava beans, transfer to a serving bowl and toss with onions. In a small bowl, combine remaining olive oil, garlic, vinegar, cumin and salt. Mix beans with dressing and serve.