NEITHER A CHICK NOR A PEA – FAVA BEAN PUREE



Musical pairing – I’m A Believer by Smash Mouth
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I love Alice Waters; in fact, I’ve been a fan of Alice Waters long before she became a National movement.  I love that she cares about our earth, I love that she’s a champion when it comes to educating children about food, I love that she wants to educate the rest of us about food and I love her Fava Bean Puree recipe in her new book, ‘In The Green Kitchen.’

Until very recently, I had never eaten a Fava bean – they have always been a bit on the suspicious side of things.  They are green and called a bean.  And it’s not that I don’t like green beans, I do.  It’s just that Fava beans are big.  They grow in long spongy pods.  You have to shell them.  Then you have to blanch them.  Then you have to pinch/squeeze off their outer layer.  And sometimes you have to cook them again.  Fava beans seemed like a lot of work.  Suspicious.

So I avoided eye contact with the suspicious Fava at the store . . . until I bought Alice’s book . . . and there on page 69, is a recipe for Fava Bean Puree – glorious, bright green mashed beans, blended with olive oil, rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper.  She had me with the rosemary and garlic and I was a gonner.  Darn that Alice – she’s done it again – made me a believer in Fava beans.

Try this recipe, I’ll bet you become a believer too!

By the way, did you know that Fava beans are not a legume at all but rather a member of the pea family?  Why then, don’t we call them ‘Fava Peas?’  Discuss.

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FAVA BEAN PUREE
Alice Waters, In the Green Kitchen, pg 69

MAKES ABOUT 2 CUPS

2 to 3 pounds Fava Beans in the Pod
About 1/2 cup Olive Oil
1/2 cup water
Salt
3 Garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 to 2 teaspoons chopped Rosemary
Fresh-ground Black Pepper

Shell the beans, and heat a pot of water to boiling.  Blanch the beans briefly (for 30 seconds or so) to loosen the skins; drain and cool in ice water, to preserve their bright green color.  Peel the beans:  Use your thumbnail to tear the skin at one end, then squeeze to pop out the bean.

Heat about 1/4 cup of the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and add the beans, the water, and a generous pinch of salt.  Cook the beans gently, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes until very soft.  Add more water if needed to keep them moist and loose.  Mash the beans to a paste with a wooden spoon or potato masher.  Make a well in the center of the pan and pour in another few tablespoons of the olive oil.  Add the garlic and rosemary to the oil and cook gently; when the garlic starts to sizzle and releases its fragrance, stir the mixture into the beans.  Season with a few grinds of pepper.  Taste and add more salt, olive oil, or water as needed.

14 Comments

  1. Sasa ~ the color is so pretty but the addition of the rosemary and garlic just puts the recipe over the top!

  2. Fava beans are really popular in Japan, we used to eat the small soft ones as nibbles with drinks…This looks lovely too, such a pretty colour!

  3. Oh honey ~ I literally gasped when I read that your beloved favas were pulled up! They’re supposed to be GREAT at restoring nitrogen to garden soil so yes, you should try again!

  4. I love fava beans! But I usually have to make a special trip to the Spanish grocery store to get them (in cans). So I planted a bunch of them this winter as a cover crop. Then the landscapers assumed they were weeds and they are all gone…oh well, I’ll replant and try again!

  5. Come on over to the bright green side, Sweetlife – you’ll never regret it!

    Cindy – I KNOW – how is it possible I’m as old as I am and nary a Fava ever passed my lips until now! I could eat the entire recipe by myself!

  6. I thought the same thing about favas and about lima beans too until my husband made favas for dinner a few years ago. The kids, teens and grown up now, LOVE fava beans! Will have to try the puree. The jury is still out on lima’s though. Thanks for sharing!

  7. I do too need to try fava beans..great color..looks tempting

    sweetlife

  8. And look ~ yet another person who’s never tried Favas ~ I am not alone, Gwen, and I thank you for that!

  9. Very cute post! I will have to give fava beans a try!

  10. Andrea ~ I’d say your kids are pretty lucky kids, growing up eating torn bread dipped in pesto! I think everyone in the house will love the suspicious Fava!

  11. Cousin Andrea

    Hilarious and very informative. I wish I had something to say about why fava beans aren’t called fava peas other than I hit the word “Discuss” and laughed out loud.

    I am known far and wide for being a lazy woman, and this delicious looking crostini reminded me of the many many times I’ve purchased DiGiorno brand pesto to use as a dip for torn pieces of french bread. My oldest was raised on this “gourmet fast food.”

    This looks like a happy medium struck between hummus and pesto. Must try! Sounds like a satisfying and yummy make ahead for “gourmet fast food” snacking.

  12. I know Maria – beautiful color – who knew!

    Cindy ~ I’m so glad to know that I’m not the only one this side of the Mississippi who hasn’t tried a Fava!

  13. …interesting-I have never ventured into Fava Territory -sounds really good, though.

    Great post!

    (I think it is deemed a bean because of it’s shape-folks probably didn’t think twice about it-smile)

  14. I love the bright green color. Great use of fava beans!

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