One of my best discoveries of recent months is dried fava beans, which I saw Mario Batali make on television. Unlike fresh favas, they are available all year round, at Kalustyans (Lexington Avenue between 28th and 29th) and the Ninth Avenue International Market (Ninth Avenue between 40th and 41st Streets) at least. They are easy to cook. And, most of all, they have a subtle taste that is a little like cannellini beans but . . . well, with a delicate fava taste.
To cook, cover with water and soak overnight. Then rinse, cover with water again, bring to a boil, now salt and simmer for about an hour, until they get very tender and fall apart. Add a little olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, mix with a hand or standing blender and you're good to go. Mario suggests serving it with bitter greens on really good grilled or toasted country bread, and this is in fact a great way to go. (I used chopped kale sauteed in a little water, with olive oil, salt and pepper.)