Fava Bean Custard
Fava, or Broad beans are a favorite Spring vegetable in Italy. I harvest them every spring at the villa we rent in Tuscany and feature them in this dish. Frozen fava beans also work well when fresh ones are not available and you can always substitute fresh or frozen peas in this recipe.
It takes about 2 pounds of fresh fava beans to yield 1 cup of shelled beans, so be prepared for some serious shelling.
If you are using fresh fava beans, tear or cut open the pods and remove the white (light green) inner beans. The true, bright green part of the bean, lies inside of this whiteish skin. Blanch the fresh beans (frozen ones have already been blanched) in boiling water for 1 minute and cool them down in cold water. This is how they will come in a frozen package of fava beans.
Make a custard with 2/3 of the shelled beans and reserve the other 1/3 as a garnish on the finished plates. This dish can be served as an entree with large custards and a lot of shrimp, or as we do in Italy, as an appetizer with small timbales of custard and only a few shrimp.
Fava Bean CustardCourse: EntreeCuisine: ItalianDifficulty: Medium
Fava Beans, 1 1/2 pounds fresh or 3 cups frozen
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups whole milk
3 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1 pound of large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
- If you are using fresh fava beans, tear or cut open the pods and remove the white inner beans. The true, bright green part of the bean, lies inside of this white skin. Blanch the fresh beans (frozen ones have already been blanched) in boiling water for 1 minute and cool them down in cold water. This is how they will come in a frozen package of fava beans. Pinch the white bean tearing it open and the bright green edible part of the bean will pop out.
- Toss the cleaned fava beans with a Tablespoon of the olive oil and grill in a grill pan on the range, for 3 minutes, or until they just barely cook through. Do not overcook them.
- Allow the fava beans to cool. Reserve 1/3 of the fava beans for garnish. Place the remaining 2/3 of the fava beans in a blender with the milk and blend until smooth.
- Place the eggs in a large bowl and whisk until smooth. Add the fava bean mixture, sugar and cream. Mix until smooth. Strain through a fine strainer and discard the solids.
- Preheat an oven to 325-degrees.
- Season with the salt and nutmeg and pour into buttered 4-ounce (175 ml) clear pyrex bowls. Place the filled bowls on a baking sheet with sides and add some hot water to cover the bottom of the pan by one-half inch.
- Bake in the preheated oven for about 45 minutes, or until firmly setup. Cool to room temperature, or just warm, to serve. If you try to serve them too warm they will not hold their shapes very well.
- Coat the tiger shrimp with the remaining Tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill in a hot grill pan on both sides, until just cooked through.
- Run a thin knife around the inside of the custard dish and invert it onto the middle of the serving plate. Garnish with grilled shrimp and reserved fava beans.