This week the harvest on the farm included rows and rows of fresh Fava Beans. Fava beans have been a staple of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines for centuries. You may know them as broad beans, horse beans, English beans, faba beans, and Windsor beans. They can be added to appetizers, omelets, salads, soups, dips and pasta.
Growing up in a Cypriot household, fava beans were served quite often. When not in season, my mom would cook with dried favas, which are greenish-brown, large compared to most beans, and flat with a distinctive slim black eye. Fresh favas are emerald green with a firm texture and subtle nutty flavor.
For this week’s farm to table, I wanted to share with you two recipes that my family really enjoys. Steamed Fresh Fava Beans with Grilled Zucchini Marrow is a dish my mom would make for us growing up. This is a fresh and delicious vegetarian dish.
If you are confused about where the term “marrow” comes from here is my attempt at explaining it. The word zucchini comes from the Italian “zucchino”, meaning a “small squash”. and is used to describe “baby marrow”. If you let the fruit on the plant grow big enough then it is termed a “marrow”. Full bread marrows aren’t as tasty as zucchini and contain more water so they need treating to get rid of their excess water (peel, deseed and cut into chunks, sprinkle over salt and drain for an hour to get rid of excess water. Squeeze gently through a tea towel. Then dry out in a low oven for an hour or so). We will be grilling the marrow in this recipe so no need to dry them out this time.
The second recipe was inspired from my recent trip to Bologna, Italy. On our visit, we decided to take a foodie tour with Taste of Bologna and stopped in at this little modern pizzeria. They were known for their use of fresh local ingredients, and we ate the most delicious fresh combination on a pizza of Mortadella and fresh Fava Bean sauce. It was something we had never tried before and it was incredibly tasty.
Now, go out and get yourself some fava beans!
- 4 cup fresh fava beans, removed from their pods
- 2 medium zucchini marrow, cut in ¼ inch thick rounds
- ½ cup + 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
- Salt and fresh ground pepper
- 1 small sweet onion, quartered
- 1 rustic baguette
- Remove beans from their pods. Cook shelled beans in boiling water for 1 minute. Drain and plunge beans into ice water bath. Drain and set aside.
- Preheat grill to medium-heat.
- In a medium size bowl, toss zucchini rounds with 2 tbsp. of oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Grill zucchini for 2 minutes on each side until soft and grill marks form. Set aside to slightly cool. Cut each zucchini round into four pieces.
- In a large serving bowl, add fava beans and zucchini. Then add olive oil, lemon juice, red wine vinegar and toss gently to mix well. Season with salt and pepper.
- Serve with sweet onion and pieces of rustic bread for dipping.
- Fava Beans
- 2 cup fresh fava beans, blanched (see above)
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large garlic clove
- 1 tbsp. sherry vinegar
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 10inch cooked pizza crust or focaccia
- 10 thin slices of quality mortadella
- 1 tbsp. fresh parsley, finely chopped
- Fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano
- Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
- To make the fava bean, place the fava beans in a food processor and pulse for 1 minute. Add the garlic and oil and process until creamy. Place in a bowl and mix in the sherry vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
- To assemble pizza, spread fava bean to cover evenly on top of your pizza crust or focaccia. Top with mortadella slices and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle the parsley and finish with grated parmigiano.