With green favas, pearly couscous, and sweet shallots, this warming sauté is both comforting and light. (To make it more entrée like, toss in some feta and toasted pistachios.) Buy the freshest favas you can find as older beans can be starchy.
1 1/2 pounds fresh fava beans (in-pod weight)
1 cup Israeli (sometimes called pearl) couscous
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large shallot or 2 medium shallots, thinly sliced (1 1/4 cups)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup pitted Kalamata olives, sliced
1 lemon, zest removed in long squiggly strips, juice squeezed into a small bowl
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh mint leaves
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Crack the fava pods and squeeze the beans into a bowl. Rinse. Boil the beans for 2 minutes; then remove with a slotted spoon to a colander and rinse again to cool. Transfer to a small bowl. Add the couscous to the same pot and boil until al dente, about 5 minutes, skimming any scum that rises to the surface. Drain; rinse briefly to prevent clumping.
While the couscous cooks, use your thumbnail to pierce each fava's outer shell. Squeeze the dark green inner beans into a bowl; discard the shells.
In a large skillet, warm the olive oil over medium-high heat until almost shimmering. Add the shallots, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and a grinding of black pepper. Sauté until the shallots are golden brown and starting to crisp, 4 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent burning. Reduce the heat to very low, add the favas, and stir until warm and glossy, 3 to 5 minutes longer. Test one bean; it should be tender.
Add the couscous to the favas along with the olives and some of the lemon juice, to taste; stir until hot. Adjust the salt and pepper. Garnish with the mint and lemon zest.
Tip: Consider preparing this dish with a friend. It's nice to have company when you shuck the favas, as this can take a bit of time.
From Ripe: A Fresh, Colorful Approach to Fruits and Vegetables by Cheryl Sternman Rule. Copyright 2012 by Cheryl Sternman Rule. Excerpted by permission of Running Press, a member of the Perseus Book Group.