Monday, July 28, 2008
What is favish you ask? That is actually the Portuguese dish with fava beans - a real classic, easy and wholesome way to cook them. It's probably not spelled like this, but this is how we refer to it amongst my friends. I am not Portuguese, but the first time I had these was at my friends parent's home and they are from Terceira, an island in the Azores, and I have loved fava beans since. I don't know what it was about them other than the fact that we never ate them in my own household growing up, but I just didn't have the urge to pick them up from the store or cook with them. The D family changed my relationship with fava beans.
They are interesting little things. You can see in the picture though that they look like oversized green beans crossed with pea pods. When you open them the inside is fluffy and soft - cushion to protect each fava bean. The beans each have a white skin on them, but the smaller ones (second one in from the right) are more tender and the skin can stay on. The larger beans have a more bitter skin that you can remove by blanching and peeling, or just digging your nail into and peeling off. The fava bean on the far right is a peeled bean. Just taste one when you open a pod to see what you think and if it needs to be peeled. See, not that mysterious after all.
I like them raw and tossed into a salad. But here is one of my favorite recipes. It was inspired by a Jamie Oliver recipe I saw on TV where he makes posh beans on toast - he used fava and peas and puts them on toast. First problem I was presented with was that the peas didn't look good at the farmers market, and second was that I don't really eat bread in my house. So I made this and it was fabulous. I use it on quinoa but you can easily use it on rice, on its own, on potatoes - you have options here.
Posh Fava Beans on Quinoa
Take about a pound of fava beans and peel the pods and take the beans out. Remove the outer skin if too bitter. If peas look good that day too, you can add those.
Pulse the raw fava beans in a food processor with 1 clove of garlic, about 1/3 cup of olive oil (the good stuff), salt and pepper, pecorino romano or parmesan (I like pecorino), and a squeeze of lemon juice. Add olive oil or water to thin out if needed.
Cook 1 cup of quinoa.
Toss the fava mixture into cooked quinoa.