...and a nice Chianti, yeah yeah
May 21, 2010 2:00 PM   Subscribe

We have fresh baby artichokes. We have fresh fava beans. Help me make them delicious.

I've prepared fresh artichokes before, but never in their infant form. How much trimming do they need? Do they have a choke? Steam, sautee, grill? We have about a dozen.

And favas....never made them before, certainly not fresh ones. I've eaten them and been told they are delicious, but I am not persuaded. Yet.

We're both decent/good cooks, unafraid to cook without recipes. In the backyard we have a Meyer lemon tree and various herbs, and we have a full pantry. One of us eats meat and the other doesn't, so it'd be best if the recipes are vegetarian.

Techniques and specific, tried-and-true recipes are much appreciated. Thanks!
posted by rtha to Food & Drink (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Brits call favas "broad beans" so that may help you with recipe searches.
posted by elsietheeel at 2:15 PM on May 21, 2010

Best answer: To prep the baby artichokes, rinse and brush them. Peel off the out layer of leaves, until you see the paler inner leaves, then cut off the stem and about half an inch of the top of the artichoke. Then, soak them in dilute lemon juice so they don't brown. After that you can steam them, sautee them or even grill them.

Fava beans are kind of a lot of work. First, you string and shuck the beans, then parboil them and peel them out of their waxy coating. After that, maybe try blanching them. You could quarter the baby 'chokes and toss them, the blanched beans and some greens together to make a salad. I'd suggest some roasted beets and goat cheese, maybe some pine nuts and a simple dressing of good balsamic and oil, salt and pepper.
posted by signalnine at 2:27 PM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

I had a garden full of fava beans this summer. They are a lot of work to prepare. Eventually, we started just grilling them, which works wonderfully. Grilled (which makes the waxy coating easy work), they make great appetizers, or they could be popped out of their shells to use in some other fava recipe. (you can even eat the pod itself if the beans are young enough) I highly recommend it. Here's a few links:



posted by seventyfour at 2:38 PM on May 21, 2010

My CSA has the advice you need.

Baby artichokes.

Fava beans, including how to tell whether you need to shell them.
posted by tangerine at 2:39 PM on May 21, 2010

Some good fava suggestions here.
posted by Nothing... and like it at 2:46 PM on May 21, 2010

Best answer: Two of my favorite things!

Baby artichokes


If they're really, really baby, they don't require much prep. Go at them with a vegetable peeler until they're white, not green, and you're good to go. You hardly ever find them that immature in markets around here, though, so you'll probably want to give them this treatment.

Eating of

They're wonderful braised. Cut into quarters (rub lemon on cut sides, or hold in acidulated water). In a medium hot pan, saute them in olive oil until brown on all sides. Add red chili flakes and lots of garlic. When they're browned, add a splash of white wine and reduce. Then add a cup or two of good chicken stock. Simmer until liquid is reduced and artichokes are tender. Near end of cooking, add lemon zest. I also like adding some chopped, pitted (obviously) green Cerignola olives.

This makes a phenomenal pasta dish. (One that I have been eating for lunch all week, in fact.) Boil up some angel hair and, when the artichokes are just finishing up, add the pasta to the artichokes and braising liquid. Let the pasta finish in the sauce. Add as much grated parmesan as you can stand, along with some chopped parsley.

For a thicker sauce, coat the artichokes in flour before you brown them.


Remove the beans from the pod. Blanch the beans just until they float (~1 minute). Dump into ice bath. Peel beans. (The bean shelling process is best handled on the porch, with a beer and a friend.)

Toss the favas in olive oil and add grated lemon zest/black pepper.

This is my favorite way to eat them, but they'd also be excellent added to the pasta dish I mentioned above. I'll add favas to my artichoke pasta when I don't have enough to eat on their own. (They ARE lot of work, and you never seem to yield enough to make a real side dish out of.)
posted by mudpuppie at 3:34 PM on May 21, 2010 [3 favorites]

Do they have a choke?

Forgot this.

Yes, they have a choke, but it's nowhere near as prickly as the grown-up artichoke's choke. You'll want to remove it. This is easy to do when they're quartered. Just cut the fuzz out with a pairing knife.

They don't, however, have the spiky purple leaves surrounding the choke like the big ones do, so you don't need to cut out anything but the fuzz.
posted by mudpuppie at 3:37 PM on May 21, 2010

Peel beans.

Forgot this too. Easiest way to peel the blanched beans is to pinch open the skin at one end with your thumbnail, and then squeeze them out.

(Sorry for repeat posts. These really are two of my favorite things, and I have a lot to say about them.)
posted by mudpuppie at 3:39 PM on May 21, 2010

Braised baby artichokes with garlic, thyme & Parmesan From Orangette, a delicious dish with clear directions.
posted by lois1950 at 9:57 PM on May 21, 2010

I love all kinds of legumes, but favas are not my favorite at all. The only way I really like them is ful medames. (Alternate spelling: foul medames.)

I don't have a great recipe, but from a quick search, I'd say whatever recipe you use, double the oilve oil and garlic to recreate the way I've had them at Lebanese or Egyptian places.
posted by desuetude at 11:51 PM on May 21, 2010

I'm going to be lazy and avoid typing by saying that mudpuppie's baby artichoke recipe is exactly the way I prepare them.

Now I'm hungry.
posted by Lexica at 3:42 PM on May 22, 2010

Response by poster: I made a version of mudpuppie's recipe and it was excellent. Haven't gotten around to the favas yet (too lazy, too rainy, etc.), but I will likely grill them Thank you all!
posted by rtha at 3:44 PM on May 25, 2010

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