Recipe: Amelia Saltsman’s Fava Tendrils and English Peas

Amelia Saltsman is the author of The Santa Monica Farmers Market Cookbook.

DSCN3741Fava tendrils are the bouquet-like, clustered leaf tips of the plants that are pretty left whole for cooking. Look for clusters with tender leaves that range in size from 1/2 to 2 inches. Fava leaves have a nutty flavor, with a hint of sweetness and a slightly bitter “fava bean” finish. The dish is tasty with just the two ingredients, but if you have green garlic, garlic chives, or arugula flowers on hand, these will make beautiful additions to the dish. If you can’t find peas, asparagus cut in 1-inch pieces would be delicious here.  Keep reading for the recipe…

photo (8)Fava Tendrils and English Peas

1/4 pound young fava plant tendrils (leaf clusters)
1/2 pound young English peas in the pod, or about 2 ounces shelled peas
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher or sea salt
2 tablespoons water
Optional: 2 to 3 green garlic plants, cut crosswise into 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces
Optional: handful of arugula blossoms and/or garlic chives, snipped

Rinse and dry the fava leaf clusters and leave them whole (trim any longish stems if necessary). Shell the peas. Have all the ingredients and a large pot lid near the stove. Heat a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Swirl in the oil and when it shimmers, throw in the green garlic if using, fava leaves, peas, and a sprinkle of salt. Cook for a minute or two, tossing frequently, until the peas brighten in color, and most of the fava clusters have wilted slightly and deepened in color. Add the water, cover the skillet, and cook 1 more minute, until the peas are tender. Arrange greens on a serving dish, season with additional salt to taste, and top with arugula flowers and garlic chives.

Makes 4 servings.

© 2011, Amelia Saltsman.

  • Thanks for posting this. I see many tendrils at the farmers market and when I ask anyone for how to cook them, I always get the same two answers: stir fry or soup. It is fantastic to see an actual recipe. I am always aiming for a more plant based diet on a daily basis.

    • Thank you so much, Jane, for taking the time to write in. Today I grilled chrysanthemum leaf stalks with a little olive oil and salt and they were amazing! Fava bean leaf bouquets would be awesome this way.

  • This was very a good start for a deep dining as an appetizer. Fava tendrills was said to be very helpful in the circulation of blood and lowering blood pressure. I didn't think of it as an appetizer before and I appreciate you for giving me a nutritional idea.