I bought some dried, split fava beans a couple of weeks ago, thinking I would make the crisp-fried ones you buy as a snack in various European countries, especially Spain, Portugal, and Italy (in my experience); you sometimes see them in stores here (especially Portuguese ones) as well.
Then I realized I didn’t know how to make them. It had to be one of two things: either you soak them, boil them, and then roast or fry them, or you just soak them and roast or fry them. The internet was no help–as usual, you get conflicting advice from sources you have no reason to trust–so I talked it over with Kerri, who had never done this with favas either. We’d both roasted cooked chickpeas until they were crisp (I love that; we have a recipe for it in the Food Matters Cookbook), but these seemed different.
I decided to follow my gut; how far wrong could I go? So I soaked about a cup in water overnight and, the next morning, heated about 2 cups of peanut oil in a pot. I drained and dried the favas in a salad spinner, but wasn’t compulsive enough to towel-dry them, which turned out to be not a problem. When a sample bean bubbled nicely in the hot oil, I dumped in half the beans, stirred, and hung around for a few minutes, doing the occasional stir, until they were golden brown, less than 10 minutes. I used a spider to remove the beans, drained them on a towel, then cooked the rest. Finally, they all got sprinkled pretty heavily with salt and smoky chile powder: Terrific. They were gone in a day; I made more.
Trust me: This works. And it’s worth it.