Fava beans are eaten in Italy as well as in much of the Middle East and in India and South and Central America. They are consumed both dry and fresh and I am focusing on the latter here. They are tender, sweet and starchy and satisfying in many different preparations.
Fava beans are delicious in a salad or blended into hummus. You can also make them into a puree and especially later in the season when the beans are a little bigger, cook them until tender and puree with a little garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and salt and you’ll have a delicious spread
Typically Americans think the beans have to be removed from their big squishy pods and then blanch them and then pinch the skin that remains off each individual bean. You can do this but it’s not necessary. If the beans are fairly small you don’t need to slip of the skin after blanching the individual beans (Italians’ rarely do) and I learned an Iranian method from a farmer friend where you boil the entire pod in heavily salted water until the pods fall apart (about 30 minutes). The individual beans practically fall out once you drain the pods and the skin around each bean is so tender you need not remove it. Fava beans lose their beautiful bright green color with this method but they taste delicious and are suitable for dips, soups, stews, sauces and salads. You can also grill favas in their pods eating the pods as well as the beans if the pods are on the young/small side.