Over the holidays, I was food shopping with a visiting French friend, when suddenly we saw fresh fava beans in the market. Being an east-coaster now, she became excited seeing them this time of year, ("Putain," she cried, "C'est pas vrai!") so we tossed a few big handfuls in a bag and brought them home. At dinner, she introduced me to the way her family used to eat them when she was growing up:
Serve them in their pods, accompanied by good crusty bread, butter, and salt. Living in L.A., I couldn't find any good crusty bread, so I settled for Whole Foods ciabatta. But I did happen to have some Plugra on hand and fleur de sel, so we were sitting pretty. Pop a fava bean out of the pod, peel off its outer coating, dip it in the salt, pop it in your mouth, and follow with a morsel of generously buttered bread. Heaven! They have an aftertaste of a very fresh, very young artichoke. The experience is almost a French version of eating edamame, but more textural. Do try!