simple fava beans with arugula + parmesan

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Yes, fava beans are a lot like a labor of love. You’ve got to go through quite a bit to get to something good. First there’s peeling through a heavy pod casing and then the slim little beans have to be slipped free from another thick shell to reveal how pretty and bright they are.

Yes, it takes a few minutes, but then, they’re just that: pretty and bright and surprisingly creamy-textured for something so green.

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It takes a little time, that thing I’m always trying to save. I’ve been taught it’s best not to quip with quick, because after all, there’s work still to do.

You see, I’m a collector of coveted seconds that somehow aren’t worth the moment (spent waiting for the train, the coffee, the traffic light), but should still be tucked away in that mystical place, that treasure box where saved minutes go. We find our way around losing time because so often we’re not sure when or what will be worth it — but we want to make sure we have time when we realize what will. Scarier still is when we really spend time, and realize, if for the first time that we’ve shown what we most value, because everyone knows that where you spend your time most is where the things you most value are found… and we hope those things, once found are something we can be proud of.

So while I’m peeling my favas I’m thinking: How much of a really good thing am I willing to sacrifice for the things that save time? Seconds saved stash themselves away in the imaginary treasured time box, sometimes making us feel like we’ve championed the impossible. That we’ve conquered time:

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You’ve heard it before, and I’m inclined to finally, maybe, open my ears and agree: I’m tempted to say that time-saving is a concept that is often tossed about too liberally, it’s fitting for a time-obssessed culture that does anything and everything it can to cheat the toll that time takes, however slowly, however inevitably, however ungracefully…

or gracefully: 

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But is what we’re avoiding; that is to say, is the vulnerability of never quite being the masters of the masterful clock not somehow more dangerous, especially when it catches us unaware?

I’m talking about when the seasons change and we realize we never did that thing, however small, that we said we would.

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In spite of being slightly more labor and time intensive than a string bean or another neighbored-green, this one’s still pretty simple. Take your time to shell the beans, listen to the sound of something closed open to your gentle grasp… And then, once you’ve got the shiny little jewels, set them on a pedastle all their own, don’t fuss to overdress something that was made to stand alone — just toss them with flaky salt and lemon and pepper and parmesan, and a handful of greens, and enjoy a kind of freshness that time cannot preserve.

When you’re done, allow yourself the time to find — if you haven’t yet — that something else that takes time but is way better than what’s quick, that something that’s so precious it dashes beyond the tempting option of ‘time least spent,’ because it’s so good.

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  • 2 cups shelled fava beans
  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • parmesan (or pecorino) cheese, finely grated
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • handful of arugula or other fresh greens (~ 1 cup)

Blanche fava beans once they have been removed from their pods, about 2 minutes in a pot of of well-salted boiling water. Remove beans from pot using a slotted spoon, plunging them immediately into a cold ice bath.

Drain the beans and then peel each bean of its tough outer pale shell to reveal a slim bright green bean. Rinse beans again and pat dry. In a small bowl, lay a bed of arugula or other baby greens and pile beans ontop, sprinkling them with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle beans and greens with olive oil and toss gently to coat evenly. Squeeze over with fresh lemon juice and lots of grated parmesan cheese.

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