Summer must finally be here because the Ranui Gardens is now abundant in its assortment and we are getting all kinds of fun veggies. I’ve been perusing a borrowed cookbook for ideas and have come up with ones that use more than 2 items in this week’s box, thanks to Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.
I don’t think we’ve ever had fresh fava beans in our CSA box—let’s enjoy their flavor with hints of the Middle East, such as the tahini and spiced onions suggested by Mr. Bittman.
Fava Beans and with Spiced Onions and Cilantro
Fava beans must be stripped from their pods and then you still have to remove the tender beans from the pale green, bitter skin enclosing them. Then you can stew them briefly in olive oil and garlic, adding other seasonings just before serving. My friend Ginger of Orchard House Catering in Hood River, Oregon prepares and serves bright green fresh favas in the Chez Panisse style—with rosemary—I called her to learn her tricks and I borrowed some of her wording to explain.
2 pounds fava beans
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon Real Salt
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup water
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
1 cup cooked brown basmati rice, optional
Remove the fava beans from the pods and blanch them in boiling salted water for 1 minute. Right away “fish them out of the water” and drain in a colander. Using your fingernail, break the outer skin and the “slip out the slimy things” between your forefinger and thumb. Set aside.
Heat the first olive oil in a skillet. Cook the sliced onion and half of the garlic until soft. Add the coriander and cumin along with the salt and some cayenne, stirring well. Cook for another minute; remove from the pan and set aside.
Heat the second olive oil in the same skillet. Add the reserved fava beans, the second half of garlic and the water. On low heat, bring to a simmer, cover and allow to stew 5 to 10 minutes, until the beans are softened. Add more water if needed, stirring the beans as needed to keep them from sticking.
When the beans are tender to the bite, stir in the tahini, the reserved spiced onions and cilantro. Stir in the cooked rice, if using, just to heat through. Season to taste with salt and more cayenne if desired.
Makes about 4 servings.