17 June 2011

Fava & Ricotta Toasts

So I recently went to Greece.  It was a long time coming -- I've wanted to be on a Greek island for at least 15 years.  I started teaching myself Greek about 7 years ago.  I was a woman obsessed.

Why was I so obsessed with Greece?  Maybe it had something to do with something I saw on General Hospital when I was about 14.  Ok, it definitely had a lot to do with that (anyone else remember the Luke/Laura/Stefanos drama??).  Whatever.  I grew up and got over soap operas... but I never got over Greece.  The water, the sun.... the food.

Fast forward to three years ago when I became a vegetarian.  Greek food became even more precious.  I love hummus, halloumi is amazing, and dolmades might be my favourite thing in the world.  Greek food rocks.  And don't even get me started on the desserts.  If I could only eat one cuisine for the rest of my life, this might be it.

Fortunately, I can still read (some) Greek, and at a restaurant in Kefalos, I encountered something on the menu called simply, 'fava'.  I was intrigued.  I knew that fava was a bean, and I knew that I liked it... and that's where my knowledge on the topic ended.  For all my experience with Greek food, I've never heard of fava (the dish).  So, with an adventurous heart, I ordered it.  I'll skip to the end: it was everything I love about food.  It was, in my best estimation, simply smashed fava beans with a little salt, olive oil, and lemon juice.  Simple, delicious, and easy... kinda hard to beat that, right?

Here's what it looked like on holiday -- mine is much greener, which I find very appealing... I have no idea why this one is more yellowy, but it was paradise on a plate, and was awesome when paired with grilled tomatoes and halloumi:

So I came home with a mission: make this mysterious 'fava' happen. It really isn't difficult at all - go to the shop, buy some frozen broad beans (aka fava beans), boil them for a few minutes, drain, shell, smash, and viola! Fava.

I spread this on a homemade spelt and honey loaf with some ricotta cheese, then sprinkled with sea salt, cracked pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil. Two small slices made a perfect, delicious, and filling lunch.

Greek Fava
original recipe by me!

broad beans
garlic paste, just a little depending on your taste/future-kissing-options
splash olive oil
splash cold water - to thin out the smashed paste-like consistency
lemon juice (just a little)
sea salt to taste

Boil broad beans (aka fava beans) for a few minutes, then drain and rinse with cold water.  Pop each bean out of it's tough grey-ish shell - just nip a little corner off the end with your fingernails and the bean will pop right out.  Then smash beans in mortar and pestle with the remaining ingredients.  Easy!

Serve atop warm crusty bread or toast with a little ricotta cheese, or greek yogurt, or on some pitta bread... delicious.

The end.

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