A few weeks ago, while I had the opportunity to cook with a real outdoor grill, I tried my hand at grilling fava beans. I first read about the technique in an article by Regina Schrambling in the Los Angeles Times, where she detailed the method and described how it was introduced to her by Judy Rodgers of San Francisco's Zuni Café.
One of the technique's benefits, Ms. Schrambling writes, is that it renders the cumbersome beans extremely easy to prepare:
Before this revelation, I considered favas the Brazil nuts of beans. First, you have to shell them, then you have to slip a tight skin off every single one. The naked legumes are worth the struggle, but you still wind up throwing out about two-thirds of what you pay for.
Since this article was published, yet another article on grilling fava beans appeared in the August/September issue of Saveur as a sidebar to a 12-page paean to Judy Rodgers and Zuni Café.
To make the grilled fava beans, first season the raw beans generously with salt and toss with extra virgin olive oil. Place the pods on the grill and cook until blackened and soft. As the pods pop and blister on the outside, they steam within.
When they have sufficiently charred on both sides, remove the pods from the grill, let cool, and then pry them open to reveal the beans, which may be slipped from their thin skins or eaten whole, skin and all. The salty, meaty beans are as tasty as they are easy to prepare.