An Open Cookbook

An Open Cookbook


Fresh Fava Bean Puree

I have literally been thinking about fresh fava beans for months.   They pop like popcorn into my brain every so often.  Last winter I was watching the Food Network and Giada had a recipe for pureed fava beans that really sang to me.  I used to avoid the gigantic pods at farmer's markets because I had no idea what to do with them.  But in the spirit of culinary adventures...Giada was my inspiration.  I find that the more adventuresome I am in the kitchen, the more I am in life.  So why not start with a green pea pod?  Who know what will happen next.

So yesterday morning I headed to the Ballard farmer's market in search of fresh favas.  I located a friendly stand and started slowly slipping pod after pod into my bag.  They were much softer and delicate than I expected.  They felt like they had just been pulled off the plant.  And an even bigger surprise was the fleece-like layer inside each pod, cushioning the beans. 

It was a beautiful sunny day, so I sat on the front porch carefully de-podding each bean.  What a brilliantly protective traveling case for the beans.  And every pod was different.  Some have four beans like the picture above.  A few had one giant bean next to a few tiny ones.  Others had three medium sized beans.  It was a little adventure seeing what each one would hold.

They look suspiciously similar to lima beans.  So if you can't find fava beans, frozen limas would be a close second for this spread.  I made the crackers pictured above, which will be the next post.  They are super easy, and very satisfying to make.  I also think a little bit of bacon might add a nice salty hint to this spread too.  So if you have some, try it and let me know if I need to make it again.

Fresh Fava Bean Puree
Adapted from Giada At Home and The Book of Tapas
Yields about 1/2 cup

I did a combination of Giada's recipe with another one from the The Book of Tapas.  I wanted a little more flavoring than the mint.  So a combination of sauteed onion and fresh garlic really upped the ante.  Her recipe called for boiling the beans in chicken stock.  I didn't have any on hand, so I just used the pan from the sauteed onions for the boiling water, and it flavored the beans quite nicely.  Mint seemed to be in every recipe with fava beans, and I happened to have some from a fruit salad, so that worked out just nicely.  But feel free to experiment with other fresh herbs.

1 tsp olive oil
1/3 yellow onion, chopped
1 cup water
~ 15 fava bean pods (1 cup shelled fava beans)
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp fresh mint, minced
Salt and pepper
Remaining water from boiling (1-2 Tbsp)
1 Tbsp olive oil

Heat a medium saute pan on low to medium heat.  Add 1 tsp olive oil to pan and heat for a few minutes.  Scrape the onions into the hot pan and saute until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. 

Remove onions from pan and transfer to a food processor bowl.  For added onion flavor, use the same pan for the rest of the recipe.  Add water, a sprinkle of salt and fava beans to onioned pan.  Bring to a boil and cook beans until tender, about 10 minutes.  Do a taste test to determine doneness.  With a cup placed under a strainer, pour beans out of pan.  Keep the onion enhanced water for the puree.  Rinse the beans with cold water to cool them off a bit. 

Add the beans to the food processor along with the garlic, mint, salt and pepper.  Pulse until blended.  Scrape sides.  Drizzle the 1-2 Tbsp reserved water and 1 Tbsp olive oil through the feed tube while processor is still on.  Blend until smooth.  Adjust any seasonings.  Serve on top of chicken or fish, as a dip for crackers or as a spread on a cucumber sandwich.


Alex said...

very interesting! I really like fava beans, but have also been pretty intimidated! thanks for the inspiration! great seeing you last night!

Alli Shircliff said...

Thanks was definitely an empowering process to learn they weren't too scary to work with :) So great to see you last night too!