Mmmm....it's fava bean season, and also that time of year to buy artichokes of all sizes.
This weekend the fava bean price at the Farmers Market was reasonable enough - $2.50 a pound for these lovely fava beans.
I like to make this fava bean puree recipe adapted from Suzanne Goin's "Sunday Suppers at Luques" cookbook. It's a delicious appetizer and easy to make:
About 2 pounds of fresh organic fava beans in the pod
1/2 cup of olive oil
1 fresh rosemary sprig
1 pinch of chile flakes
1 garlic clove, finely minced
freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
1. Pop open the fava bean pods and remove the beans.
Fill a medium sized pot with enough water that will cover the beans. Add a pinch of salt to the water. Bring the water to a boil and then add the beans. Blanch the beans in the boiling water for 2 to 4 minutes. The beans are done when their pale thick skins start to split.
Drain the beans in a colander (save that water from the boiled beans in a pot or bowl and when it is cooled off completely you can use it to water any of your plants!).
When the beans are cool enough to handle with your fingers, slip them out of their thick pale skins and put in a small bowl.
2. Over low heat, heat a medium saucepan and add the 1/2 cup of olive oil along with the rosemary sprig and chile flakes. When they start to sizzle stir in the minced garlic. And when the garlic starts to sizzle add in the fava beans and the freshly ground black pepper. Simmer the beans stirring now and then, for about 5 minutes, until they are soft.
3. Remove the rosemary sprig from the pot and puree the beans either with a puree wand or in a food processor. You can leave the mixture a little chunky or puree until the beans are completely smooth. Add the lemon juice to the bean mixture.
This fava bean spread is delicious as a dip for vegetables or a baguette. It can also be served with soft goat cheese as an appetizer.