Monday, June 25, 2007


Sure, we all indulge in quoting that infamous line from Silence of Lambs whenever we get near a fava bean. Though, I personally, don’t think this association has done this wonderfully creamy, rich legume much good – it is not a mainstay on our tables or as easily snatched-up like its cousin the shelling pea. Yet, across the globe this summer bean is consumed, lauded and greatly appreciated (besides its apparent marriage-ability to a certain Chianti)

I snack on fried, lightly salted ones in lieu of nuts or get dried ones that I gently boil to re-hydrate, and then toss with garlic, lemon, tomato and olive oil. But, I am also willing to put in the time when the fresh ones arrive.

The fava is a thick-skinned and well-padded pod with anywhere from 3 to 5 beans in each. I always buy the favas that are a dark green, and I feel my way across the pod to make sure there are some nicely developed beans contained within. Once you peel the pod away you have lost about 20% of your original purchase – with such a high waste I want to make sure every pod delivers. One last step before cooking – they require the outer skin of the bean to be removed. It is totally edible, however, they have a slightly bitter taste and then all is left to do is boil them…10 minutes.

Fava Bean Puree - yields approx. 2 cups
4 cups fresh shelled fava beans (approx. 4 1/2 pounds in their pods)
1/2 cup truffle Infused oil
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup savory leaves or thyme leaves
3 garlic cloves - chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Bring 4 cups of water to the boil and add the fava beans. Return to the boil and continue to cook the beans for about 5 minutes. Drain the beans in a colander and refresh under cold water to let them cool and stop cooking. Allow them to drain again. Peel the outer skin from the beans and discard.

Place the oils, garlic, savory, salt, pepper and flesh of the beans in a food processor or blender. Process to a smooth paste. Taste and correct seasoning.

Serve on toasted or grilled sour dough bread or your favorite bread with shaved Asiago or Pecorino Cheese, or spread over a chicken breast and then bake it.

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