The Greeks and southern Italians serve this fava bean purée as a dip or as a simple sauce with meat and fish. Favas are dried green broad beans. I use the ‘split’ kind here which don’t need pre-soaking and cook down easily. You can find them in larger supermarkets, in Mediterranean delis and online.
225g split (cracked) fava beans, washed and drained
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
pinch of sea salt flakes
75ml extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
juice of 1 lemon
a topping of your choice (see below for one idea and the book for more)
flatbread, to serve
1. Place the fava beans in a large sauté pan with a lid, cover with the water and bring to the boil, skimming any white foam off the surface. Reduce to a simmer, add the chopped onion, cover with the lid and cook for 30 minutes. Remove the lid, stir the beans and season with salt. Continue to cook for 15 minutes, uncovered, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the beans are very soft. Allow to cool slightly.
2. Transfer the beans to a food processor or blender. Add the olive oil and lemon juice little by little and process until super smooth. Taste, add extra lemon juice and salt if necessary, then spread over a large plate and scatter with one of my suggested toppings from the book (one of which is pictured). Serve with flatbread.
WITH OLIVE OIL, TOMATOES AND ROSEMARY
Heat a large cast-iron pan until very hot. Add 300g cherry tomatoes and cook until they char, about 2-3 minutes, then add 75g pitted Kalamata olives and 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil. Stir once, then add 2 large sprigs of rosemary (broken into smaller ones) and season. Cook for another minute, then stir in 2 tbsp red wine vinegar and swirl the pan to incorporate all the flavours. Spoon over the dip or purée of your choice and serve.
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