From the bean of Green Bean.
It was spring. May was upon us, peeking around the door like a child up from bed too early. White butterflies danced over the bolted cauliflower while cucumbers, pumpkins and zinnias sprouted and jostled for position.
The last stand of front yard cover crop - fava beans - tilted every so slightly. Ready to retire for the season. Purple flowered vetch and bell beans tangled in their midst, pulling the favas gently to the ground.
It was that, and my desire to plant sunflowers in their spot, that hastened the favas' demise. One sunny afternoon, we plucked every last pod from the stalk and carried them into the kitchen.
Fava beans make a fantastic winter cover crop. They inject the soil with nitrogen, edge out the weeds, provide winter shelter for beneficial insects (and, unfortunately, slugs) and, if you don't rip them out right away, will decorate your spring plate with their pale bellied wonderfulness.
If you've not eaten favas before, they are a bit laborious. Once mature, you must not only remove them from the fuzzy pod but also peel the outer layer of the bean. Certainly, it takes a bit of time but, finding it as an excuse to sit my over-active boys down before dinner, we piled our favas on the table and began slowly peeling, discarding and talking.
Before long, the naked beans filled a pot. We add a bit of local olive oil, salt and pepper - perhaps even a snip of thyme from the yard - and cook them until soft. Ever merciless, the boys take turns grinding the cooked beans into a thick paste and then, devouring the dip on baguettes or stabbing it with carrots. (Here's the actual recipe).
Come summer, my front yard favas are just a memory. I forget all about their fabulous flavor, their fantastic usefulness and their fall planting. But, every spring, I inevitably fall for favas.