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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Fava Beans: Recipe

Fava Beans are finally back in season (as if you needed another thing to add to your list of things to remember). These special beans arrive for just a short time in the spring/summer and in the Italian Riviera they make what is called Maro (there's an accent over the "o"), which is a creamy emulsion of raw fava beans, cheese, garlic, and olive oil and it's used as a spread or dip.

While I'd love to lay claim to this recipe, I cannot. Because it is so utterly perfect, I have yet to even attempt to alter it in order to make it my own. So here I offer the recipe from my most favorite Italian cook, Marcella Hazan (from her book: Marcella Cucina). This is wonderfully delicious.

Fava beans come in a long, green, pod and when you open the pod, the beans are putty white, large and smooth. To make this dish, you simply peel off the thin layer of "skin" on the outside of the bean and toss them into a measuring cup to ensure you have about 1 cup of beans. This takes no time at all and while the weather is warm and you're relaxing outside with friends, enjoy this dip with slices of crispy bread or toasted pita. Serve with a crisp white wine from Italy.

Ligurian Raw Fava Bean Spread

1 1/4 lb. unshelled fava beans (1 cup, once shelled and peeled)
2 Tbsp. grated romano cheese
1/2 tsp. garlic, finely chopped
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
6 fresh mint leaves
pepper, freshly ground

Put all ingredients into the food processor and process into a creamy consistency. Serve room temperature.


Anonymous said...

I saw these at the farmer's market, so I had to pick them up and try this out. Thanks

Anonymous said...

Meredith, do the beans need to be cooked?
And if they do, do you cook them after you take them out of the shell? and for how long?

Liby (Carmen's friend)