As you can probably surmise from my glaring absence over the last 3 months, things have been a bit hectic around here lately. We've been thrown a few curve balls that have kept me out of the kitchen and out of the blogging world, but the Lord has blessed us immensely throughout everything and we now have a beautiful baby girl.
Since I missed most of springtime produce, I feel like I have to play catchup on a few recipes, starting with this fantastically simple recipe for fava bean puree from Alice Waters, the queen of all things fresh and seasonal. I ate it on toasted slices from a french baguette, but it's great by itself or on pita, and you can also skip the mashing/pureeing step and eat the beans whole. I skipped out on the fresh rosemary (rosemary and I didn't get along well during the pregnancy, and I'm still a bit wary of it) and it was still delicious. This dish is equally delicious if you skip the mashing and leave the beans whole.
Fava Bean Puree From Chez Panisse Vegetables 3 lbs. fresh fava beans 1/2 to 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil Salt and Pepper 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped 1/4 bay leaf 1 small sprig rosemary (I left this out) 1 sprig thyme 1/2 lemon
1. Put a large pot of water on to boil. Shell fava beans and discard the pods. Parboil the shelled beans for 1 minute. Drain them and immediately plunge them in ice-cold water for a few minutes to cool. Drain them again and remove their pale green skins, piercing the outer skin of each bean with your thumbnail and popping out the bright green bean with a pinch of your other thumb and forefinger.
2. Warm about 1/2 cup of the olive oil in a shallow, nonreactive saute pan. Add the beans and salt lightly. Add garlic, herbs, and a splash of water. Cook the beans at a slow simmer, stirring and tasting frequently, for about 30 minutes until they are completely soft and pale green and easily mashed into a puree. Add another splash of water from time to time to prevent the beans from drying out and sticking to the pan.
3. When the beans are done, remove and discard the herbs, and mash the beans into a paste with a wooden spoon, or pass them through a sieve or food mill, or puree with a food processor. Taste for seasoning and add more olive oil and a few drops of lemon juice to taste. If the puree is at all dry and tight, add still more olive oil. Don't be stingy with the oil; good olive oil is as important to the flavor of the puree as the beans. Serve warm or at room temperature, by itself or spread on grilled bread. Makes about 3 cups.