Sharpen Your Fingernails for Shelling Season – Peas and Fava Beans with Chevre and Mint

Fresh peas in the pod have finally arrived at the market. The tiniest peas are so sweet and tender they can be eaten straight from the pod. Larger ones are more starchy and need to be plunged in boiling water for just a minute or two. To get at the peas (and favas) a lot of people suggest snapping off the end and “unzipping” the pod. This “unzipping” rarely works. I find the best way is to just stick your fingernails into the seam and bust the pod open. Put on some music, grab a drink, and shuck away.


I wanted the fresh flavour of the peas and favas to shine through in this dish, so they’re dressed simply with mint and chevre, and moistened with olive oil and white wine vinegar.

peas and fava beans with chevre and mint

shelled peas for peas and fava beans with chevre and mint

The amounts I’ve given are just a very rough guideline, you can alter the amounts of ingredients freely to your taste. Also throw in whatever herbs you like. I debated on the herbs for a bit, but decided to keep it simple and clean with just mint.

The only thing I would do differently next time would be to double the recipe. When buying peas and beans in the pod it’s easy to forget how relatively small the actual yield will be once you’ve shelled them. I bought 3 large handfuls of favas (1.3 pounds) and 5 large handfuls of peas (1.9 pounds), which after shucking yielded 1 1/2 cups of each. Read more on shucking fava beans here.

Peas and Fava Beans with Chevre and Mint

1 1/2 cups fresh peas, shelled
1 1/2 cups fresh fava beans, shelled
3 sprigs of mint, leaves picked from stems and chopped
30 grams chevre, or to taste
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp white wine vinegar

Put a pot of salted water with strainer insert on to boil. Cook peas for 1 to 2 minutes, till they’re just done and bright green. Lift them out with the strainer and plunge into ice bath or run cold water over. Do the same with the fava beans; keep an eye on them and taste to check for doneness. Pinch skins off favas. Cook the peas and favas separately because the favas are larger and will require a slightly longer cooking time.

Mix peas, favas, and mint together in a serving bowl. Crumble chevre over top.

Mix olive oil and vinegar together with a pinch of salt. Just before serving pour over peas and favas and toss. Serve room temperature or cold. We had ours alongside spaghetti al limone (made with Pecorino Romano instead of Parmesan for a change). You could also eat this smashed up on crostinis.


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