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Springtime fava bean puree

July 15, 2009
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Credit where it’s due: I based this recipe on a fava spread my friend Andrew Giddens made.  This is a really delicious (although time-consuming) appetizer to make in the spring, when fava beans start showing up at the farmers market. You can usually find them at ritzy grocery stores, too, at a high price. For the record, I really don’t understand why favas are considered a luxury food. I also make a version of this with frozen shelled edamame when it isn’t springtime and when I’m not in the mood to shell and peel fresh fava beans. Cook the frozen edamame with the garlic in salted water according to the package instructions and proceed with step 4.


Note: amounts are approximate.

3 lbs. fresh fava beans in their pods
1 clove garlic (optional), peeled
1-2 lemons
1/3 cup olive oil (you’re going to be eating it raw, so use the good stuff)
salt & pepper

1. Heat a large pot of water to boil. Meanwhile, remove the fava beans from their pods. Prepare a large bowl of ice water.

2. Blanch the fava beans and the garlic for 1-2 minutes. Remove immediately to the ice water to stop the cooking.

3. This is the slowest part: Remove the tough outer skin from each bright green fava bean. Use a small knife or just tear it off with your fingers. This process should yield approximately one to one-and-a-half cups of shelled beans.

4. In the bowl of a food processor, add the fava beans, 1/2 teaspoon of fresh lemon zest, 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, garlic if desired, a splash of olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Process to a rough, pasty consistency.

5. With the processor running, drizzle in olive oil to achieve a smooth texture, like hummus. Taste to check for balance of flavors; you may need to add more salt or more lemon.

6. Enjoy with fresh bread, crudites (try radishes), or whatever strikes your fancy.

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