It’s finally starting to feel like spring, which means English peas and asparagus are popping up on menus all over town. But this year, there’s another vegetable garnering favor in chefs’ kitchens: the fava bean. The bright green legume (like lima beans, only smaller and more colorful) provides a subtle, buttery texture that makes it ideal for spreads and pestos.

For a stellar introduction to the ingredient, head to Duo Restaurant in Highland. Here, sous chef Daniel Lasiy pairs succulent butter-roasted prawns with a nutty fava-bean pesto for an elegant, yet humble, appetizer. The pesto—a chunky blend of fava beans, almonds, pecorino, and a pinch of mint—provides an earthy counterpart to the delicate shellfish. Enhance each bite with the accompanying watercress salad tossed in a zingy Meyer-lemon-ginger vinaigrette.

Fun Fact: Legend has it that the fava bean was the magical bean that shot skyward overnight in Jack and the Beanstalk.

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