A New Way to Cook with Fava Beans!
Some of you may know of my taste for fresh fava beans, that most underrated bean, at least among US cooks.
Fava beans always come to mind at this time of the year, especially around Easter and Passover. Growing up in Morocco meant I got to participate in the rituals of Muslims, Christians, and Jews: That made for sampling a number of celebratory dishes, from Ramadan soup, to Hot Cross Buns, and my maternal great-grandmother’s Passover bean soup packed with fresh cilantro.
My favorite way to savor favas is à la marocaine of course, cooked in olive oil, and flavored with cumin, paprika, and cilantro. But I was thrilled to discover that fava leaves are also edible. This thanks to a vendor at the Vista farmer’s market, the one where you will find me every Saturday morning. Gladys, an expert in Asian cooking, told me she added fava leaves instead of pea shoots to her Chinese egg drop soup. So I rushed to the store, bought the makings for chicken broth, and added fava leaves and sesame oil: I am here to tell you that this soup will become part of my repertoire .
In the same spirit of experimentation, I too, decided to give a Moroccan classic a new twist by adding leaves and pods ( as long as they are young and tender). Shelling favas is somewhat time consuming, but you can do that a day or two ahead. The leaves have only a very faint, grassy taste, so you can be generous when you add them to your dish.
Et voilà le résultat! Bon appétit!
Fava Beans, Leaves and Pods with chermoula spices
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
2 teaspoons cumin
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup diced tomatoes
1 cup shelled fava beans
2 cups fava bean leaves (no stems)
4 or 5 small, slender pods, cut into 2-inch pieces
½ bunch cilantro tied with string
½ cup water
Salt and pepper
Juice of 1 lemon
Chopped cilantro, for garnish
In a medium skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add paprika, cumin, and garlic. Stir until spices start to bubble. Add tomatoes, shelled beans, leaves, pods, cilantro and water. Cover and cook for 10 to 15 minutes. Discard cilantro. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Transfer to a bowl, and serve at room temperature. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro before serving.
copyright Kitty Morse 2011