The Mighty Fava

26 July 2012

Dealing with fava beans is a little labor intensive, but many hands make light work and once you get the hang of pop- ping the beans out of their pods and seed coats it's fun and pretty quick. Not to mention that fresh favas are unlike almost any other bean. The texture and flavor of favas make peas pale by comparison. With dried beans the shelling has been done for you, but only long and careful cooking yield anything worth eating. Favas are prepared in many ways throughout the world, but maybe the simplest way to convince yourself that the work is worth it is to make favetta a simple spread that's great by itself on some bread or as a side dish for fish or lighter meats like chicken or pork. To make a pint of favetta you'll need about two pounds of favas in the pod. Don't worry if the pods don't look so hot, occasionally the beans inside will be a little moldy, but most of the time even blackened pods have nice beans inside. The basic procedure is to get the beans out of the pods. If you snap back the stem end of the pod and pull down you'll zip off the strings down each side so the pod is more easily opened. Then blanch all the beans in plenty of salted boiling water for about two minutes. Stop them from cooking further in some ice water. Each bean still has a tough seed coat. To get them out, push your thumb- nail along the side of a bean and squeeze a little to pop the green bean out. If it sounds complicated, rest assured if you do enough to make one batch of favetta you'll be a pro by the time your done and never look back.

favetta

makes about 1 pint

2 pounds fresh Fava beans in their pods

2 cloves garlic

2-3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

Juice of 1 lemon

2 Tablespoons chopped marjoram, oregano or thyme.

Salt and Pepper to taste

Prep and cook the favas as described above. Blend the cooked and shelled favas in a food processor with the garlic, lemon juice, herbs and salt and pepper. Push down whatever sticks to the sides after a minute or so and blend for another minute. With the processor running, add the oil until you get a consistency that's just loose enough to flow around easily in the food processor. Don't blend it too much longer or you might start to break down the olive oil making it bitter. Your favetta will keep well in the fridge for a few days, but the oil will need to be mixed back in.

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