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!