Make Ahead

Lacinato Kale and Fava Beans

January 25, 2011
Author Notes

This is typical of an Italian inspired side dish or salad. It can be served luke warm or room temperature and is best served this way. It is simple to throw together and, quite simply, is delicious.
After having purchased dried fava beans and staring at them for a month this salad came to mind and it is the perfect fit. Many salads like this use white beans or garbanzo beans but neither of these two legumes are as satisfying as the fava.
The dried fava you are looking for is blanched of its outer shell and then dried. What this does is makes it possible to cook these beans in no time. No soaking is required and in the end you get a bean that is mealy in a good way.
The favas become a sponge for any flavor you toss them with, so, add a healthy dose of really good extra virgin olive oil, this is where good oil shines like the Tuscan sun, and then add some fresh herbs and you are done.
Many times recipes for this kind of dish include rapini, a type of brassica more closely related to the turnip, instead of kale. Rapini is very bitter and many can’t get past it’s bitterness. The lacinato kale becomes the perfect substitute.
Served with a simple pasta tossed with sage and brown butter and another side and you have a wonderful dinner for a weeknight.

  • Serves 4
  • 1 cup dried fava beans, the outer shell should have been removed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chives, minced
  • 2 bunches lacinato kale, rinsed and cut into 1 inch strips
  • good extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
In This Recipe
  1. Rinse the beans and then place them in a sauce pan. Add enough water to cover the beans by 3 inches.
  2. Place the pot over high heat and let it come to a boil. After one minute remove the pot from the heat, cover it and let it sit for 2 hours.
  3. Test a bean. It should be very tender. If it is not cook them longer over medium heat but be careful. The fava beans will fall apart easily if they are overcooked.
  4. Place a large pot of salted water over high heat. Once the water comes to a boil add the kale. Let the water come back to a boil and cook the kale until tender. Depending on the age of the kale it could take anywhere from 3 to 8 minutes. Test a piece and see if it is tender to your liking.
  5. Drain the kale and cool it down with cold water. Bunch the kale into a ball and squeeze out the excess water. Keep the kale in a ball and chop it again.
  6. Toss the beans with olive oil, the herbs , salt and pepper. I like lots of pepper, then add the kale and toss again. Place on a platter and drizzle with more olive oil and season with a sprinkle of salt and more pepper. Serve.
  7. Note: the salad can be done in advance keeping the seasoned beans and the kale separate in the fridge. Remove them from the fridge and let them come to room temperature then then toss them together and season them with the oil, salt and pepper.

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