Fava Greens

by Holly Madrigal

Expert Gardeners know that fava beans are nitrogen-fixing dynamos. They are planted county-wide as winter cover crops to improve soil fertility and to provide carbon for composting. Area vineyards come alive in the spring when the fava beans and mustard flowers paint the fields sunshine yellow and bright green.

Fava beans are delicious but are lots of work since you have to “double shell” them when eating. The tender fava greens hold no such hassle. Toss them in a hot pan, sauté with a touch butter and a squeeze of lemon, and you have a slightly nutty and delectable side dish. This version takes your basic sautéed greens and adds some pizazz—chopped mint and Pennyroyal’s creamy Laychee cheese (suggested by the inspired Chef Elizabeth at the Pennyroyal tasting room). Chef Elizabeth also recommends serving these greens with Pennyroyal’s 2016 Sauvignon Blanc.

Recipe: Sautéed Fava Greens

  • Large bunch tender spring fava green tops
  • 2 Tbsp butter  (or bust out and use bit of bacon fat for extra flavor)
  • Juice of 1 Meyer lemon
  • Pennyroyal’s Laychee cheese
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • Chopped mint as garnish

Submerge the greens in a bowl of cold water and agitate to ensure all sand or dirt is removed. Let settle three minutes. Lift greens from the water and drain, careful not to stir up the water once debris has settled.

Prepare ingredients and have them ready prior to cooking. Place a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add the butter or bacon fat when a drop of water sizzles on the wok.  Add greens, tossing vigorously until wilted but still bright green. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice, salt and pepper. Eat straightaway while you can still taste the spring in the air!