Saturday, July 9, 2011

Fava Boats


People seem to get all riled up about fava beans when they're in season.  They're so delicious, fresh, and popping with flavor but oh lord they are just such a pain to prepare! I would kindly like to re-evaluate this common thought.  Unless you are shelling a 10 pound bag of fava beans, it really isn't that big of a deal! In fact, it's an opportunity to share a moment with someone - akin to shucking corn, no? Actually, I'm going to make THIS statement: shucking corn is actually the worst.  All that silk all over the place, one or two strands always sticking to the cob, making a mess everywhere! But no one seems to hate on corn as they do fava beans.  Either way, it's no big deal, and they cook up in a pinch! I made this simple treat a few days back, and it was oh so heavenly.  So good, in fact, that I went to the farmer's market the next day to pick up four, yes four fava beans to make just a couple.  The farmer looked at me like I was a crazy woman (happens often), but what's a girl to do when she fancies just a bite or two!


I must apologize - I don't really have an exact recipe, so if you make this, you'll have to wing it like me! 


Fava Bean Bites
8 large, fresh basil leaves, plus a bit more minced
1 cup shelled fava beans
A load of olive oil
2 T pine nuts
1 lemon, zested and juiced
Pinch sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper

Starting with the fava beans, take all of those little buggers out of the pod.  Be jealous that fava beans have such a velvety, plush home to live in before being shelled. Bring a pot of water to boil with a couple large pinches of sea salt, and prepare an ice bath.  When the water is boiling, blanch the beans for about one minute and immediately shock in the ice bath.  Drain on a paper towel.  Most people pinch out the fava bean from it's secondary outer shell, and discard that - but I'm not one for waste and utilized them.  They tasted just as good, and bulked up the dish! 


In a small skillet heat about 1/2 inch of olive oil over medium low heat.  Be careful! Don't let the oil burn and start smoking, lest you'll have to start all over again.  When the oil is hot, carefully slip in the basil leaves one at a time.  The leaves will fry up quickly - remove them after about 5-10 seconds (depending on the size of the leaf) and place on a paper towel.  Repeat with the remaining leaves. At this point, you should have a bunch of crispy, cute little basil leaf boats to hold the fava beans! 
In the same oil, quickly fry up the pine nuts until warm - remove to a paper towel.  Toss in the blanched fava beans to heat them up quickly, and remove to a paper towel as well.  In a small bowl, toss everything together! The beans, pine nuts, a 1/2 teaspoon (to start) lemon zest, about a teaspoon of lemon juice, a teaspoon of minced, fresh basil, a pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Taste for seasoning - you can add more of anything if you please. Be sure not to eat it all!  Once everything is well mixed and scrumptious, carefully spoon about 1/2 tablespoon or so onto each fried basil leaf.  Serve on a platter and enjoy!


Las favas son muy sabrosas!!  (??) Really, a great little treat.  The combination of flavors is exciting, albeit classic, flavorwise - but the combination of the crispy and fresh basil really amp it up a bit.  It's refreshing and crisp, but also has a nice velvety, creaminess from the pine nuts that makes you think you're eating something that's not so healthy for you.  Everyone will love these, and the presentation is fun. The actual fava bean mixture would be just as good on a nice little crostini, or frankly...just on a spoon! Try your hand at this, and let me know how you like it!

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