I have been fascinated with fava beans lately. Maybe it is the the way "fa-va" rolls off the tongue or maybe it is because Bon Appetit and other cooking magazines continue to tempt me with their shiny green beans. Or maybe it is the gentleman who owns the Al Habashi Mart in the City Market who has convinced me, after many conversations and preparation suggestions, that fava beans are the perfect food.
Al Habashi Mart is the a great place to buy bulk spices, rice, grains, dried fruits and nuts. The grocery also has fresh pita bread and all your Middle Eastern food necessities.
The catch is: they are not easy to prepare. Fresh fava beans have to be shelled twice. Boiled first for about 3 minutes, then peeled back to gather the beans inside the pod. Boil again to get the outer shell off the inside bean. A couple of weeks ago I made grilled lamb skewers with warm fava bean salad. I used the fresh beans so it took awhile, but and the meal was amazing.
Last weekend Alhabashi Mart had large, green, dried fava beans...I knew it was time to try the recipe from my latest Bon Appetit. Now, this may look like poop/dog food on a plate, but I assure it is wonderful. This is an interesting twist on hummus and would be great for a party. The paprika and cumin with the lemon juice and olive oil give it a great Moroccan flair. I was liberal with all of it, especially the olive oil. The beans really soaked it up. My husband was thrilled to drench his in Sriracha sauce also purchased in the City Market and make little fava sandwiches in his pita.
Recipe from chef Rafih Benjelloun, Bon Appetit, May 2007:
Makes About 2 Cups
1 pound dried shelled fava beans or dried large lima beans
3 1/2 cups water
7 tablespoons olive oil, divided
6 large garlic cloves, peeled
5 teaspoons ground cumin, divided
1 teaspoon (or more) salt
2 teaspoons Hungarian sweet paprika
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Warm pita breads
Place beans in heavy large saucepan. Add enough cold water to cover by 3 inches. Soak overnight.
Drain beans, return to same saucepan. Add 3 1/2 cups water, 4 tablespoons oil, garlic and 3 teaspoons cumin. Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low simmer uncovered 20 minutes. Mix in 1 teaspoon salt. Continue to simmer until beans are tender and breaking down,m and mixture becomes thick (like mashed potatoes), stirring occasionally, about 50 minutes longer. Season with pepper and more salt if desired.
Spoon puree into shallow bowl. Mix paprika and 2 teaspoons cumin in small dish; sprinkle over puree. Drizzle with lemon juice, them remaining 3 tablespoons oil. Serve puree with warm pita bread.