Hugh Acheson's Fava Beans With Mint Recipe

Put mint from your garden to work in this savory fava bean dish from the renowned chef Hugh Acheson.

Fresh mint, prosciutto, and Parmigiano-Reggiano are flavor-compatible with fava beans.

Fresh mint, prosciutto, and Parmigiano-Reggiano are flavor-compatible with fava beans.

Related To:

What's growing in your garden right now? Chances are, if you're not tending to mint already, this fragrant plant will fit right in. 

Hugh Acheson

Hugh Acheson

Hugh Acheson in the kitchen at Empire State South

Photo by: Photo by Brent Herrig/Image courtesy of Hugh Acheson

Photo by Brent Herrig/Image courtesy of Hugh Acheson

Hugh Acheson in the kitchen at Empire State South

Hugh Acheson is a chef, author and purveyor of several restaurants in the Southeast (including The National and Empire State South, both in Georgia). When asked about mint, he laughs. "Mint is so easy to grow, you just stick it in the ground and it takes over your whole garden. Stay away from dried herbs, because growing them is so easy."

In most parts of the country, mint flourishes without fuss in a confined space with adequate sun and moisture. Keep an eye on it; it can spread quickly, but it makes such a welcome addition to so many recipes, you'll likely pluck it regularly all season long.

Mint isn't just for iced tea, says Acheson. "It's great for finishing dishes." Learn which combinations you like with your mint—sweet, spicy or savory—and begin to use it as a flavor enhancer in many of your spring and summer recipes with meats and with local, in-season vegetables and fruits.

Below, Acheson shares one of his favorite flavor combinations using mint as an essential ingredient:

Fava Beans with Mint, Prosciutto, Parmigiano-Reggiano and Brown Butter Vinaigrette

Serves 4 

-Recipe courtesy of Hugh Acheson

  • 2 cups shelled fava beans, blanched for 1 minute and then peeled
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1 cup arugula leaves
  • 8 tablespoons Brown Butter Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 thin slices of prosciutto (about 1 ounce each)
  • 1/4 pound of Parmigiano Reggiano, shaved with a peeler to thin strips

Combine the fava beans, mint and arugula in a medium bowl and dress with a tablespoon of the vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper.

Place 1 slice of prosciutto on four plates. Divide the favas equally among the plates, then arrange shavings of cheese over each and top with another slice of prosciutto. Drizzle each plate with 1 teaspoon of the remaining vinaigrette. 

Brown Butter Vinaigrette

Makes 1 cup

  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Place the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Keep an eye on it, because you are looking to brown the milk solids, but not burn them. When the butter is a nutty brown color, turn off the heat and add the shallot, salt and pepper to taste. The shallot will cook in the butter as it cools. Pour the brown butter mixture into a blender and add the vinegar. 

Blend on medium speed, slowly drizzling in olive oil. Turn off the blender; adjust the salt and pepper, if needed. Add the thyme and parsley and stir to combine. This vinaigrette will last 1 week in the fridge.

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