2 pounds (about 1 kilo) tender fava pods, washed and drained
2 cups shelled green fava beans, fresh or frozen
1/2 cup (120 ml) olive oil
3-6 cloves garlic, sliced (to taste)
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, coarsely ground
1/3 cup slivered preserved lemon peel
4-5 wild fennel sprigs, or half a fennel bulb minced plus 1 teaspoon crushed fennel seeds
1/2 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped
1-2 teaspoons Maraş or Aleppo pepper, or a good pinch pepper flakes, or freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Juice of half lemon, or to taste
Good fruity olive oil for serving
1 1/2 cup yogurt, preferably sheep’s milk, or more, for serving (optional)
Shell only the large fava pods. Trim the ends of the small, tender pods and chop them into 1 1/2-inch (4-cm) pieces.
PEEL ONLY THE LARGER FAVA BEANS
Drop the fresh shelled favas in a pot with boiling water for 1 minute, drain, and with a good knife cut a slit on the opposite end from the black ‘eye’. Squeeze with your index and thumb and vividly green bean will easily slip out. If you use frozen fava you don’t need to blanch them. Thaw andproceed peeling just the larger ones as I described. Freezing softens them but fortunately the inner beens still remain nicely green.
Add the fennel and sauté for about 3 minutes more. Pour in 1 1/2 cups water, add the coriander and the preserved lemon and continue tossing often, until the favas are just tender, adding a little more water if necessary just to keep the favas cooking. The cooking time varies depending on the freshness and size of the beans; beware not to overcook, though, because they will become unpleasantly mushy and stringy.Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan or deep skillet. Add all the favas and garlic; sauté for a few minutes, until the garlic starts to sizzle.
Add the cilantro and pepper and toss one minute more. Most of the water should evaporate when the favas are done cooking. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the lemon and taste to adjust the seasoning with more pepper, lemon or some salt—preserved lemon adds enough salt for my taste.
Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature on its own, drizzled with fruity olive oil, or mixing with yogurt, which adds one more layer of flavor.