If fava beans are in the market, you know it’s spring, or spring somewhere nearby. Their giant green pods look like something strange and juicy, perhaps from another planet. In fact, they are the original Mediterranean bean. Early favas are small and tender; they get starchier as the season progresses. Favas are more than a little fussy to peel, but peel you must to appreciate them fully. Fresh fava beans are so good, though, they are worth the effort.
I usually try to enlist help and I always wish I had a houseful of kids or a couple of resident grandmothers… peeling favas makes a nice multigenerational chore. For this salad, the fava beans are removed from the pods, cooked briefly, peeled, and combined with thinly sliced raw fennel (or you could use raw artichokes or asparagus).