Tuesday, June 25, 2013

What's Cooking: Favas and Flowers


Ever feel like fava beans and a nice chianti? OK, so perhaps an unnecessary reference to Silence of the Lambs, but fava beans are in fact quite lovely. While these leguminous pod are often deterring for those faint of heart, traditionally shelled and then blanched or boiled, some easy methods of preparing that I recently uncovered make me much more inclined to construct fava bean dishes.

The cool part about eating a fava, is that you are eating a little seed of history. It is one of the oldest cultivated beans, originating in Northern Africa, South and Southwest Asia over 8,000 years ago. And as a bit of trivia relevant to my recent expedition, these little protein-rich morsels have been credited with staving off starvation in Sicily! Even beyond nourishment, the fava has served as a form of currency and plays even to this day pivotal roles in cultural and religious traditions.

Well, I caught the last weekend of favas at market! Having never prepped the bean before (and running rather low on time), I was happy to find that my go-to method of cooking in a pinch - roasted veggies in the oven - was an acceptable shortcut to the onerous task of shelling and going from there. But there is more...my garden plot exploded in the rain and humid heat just in the past couple of weeks, leaving me with more zucchini blossoms than could find suitable pollinators. Between beans and buds, it was a good day for end-of-spring cuisine.

Favas and Flowers
10 fava pods, salted, roasted, and shelled
20 zucchini flowers (picked day-of)
1/4 onion, diced
1 garlic scape, chopped
1 tbs olive or grapeseed oil
Salt to taste

1. In a medium skillet, heat oil on medium-high heat. Add in onion, turn down to medium, and saute until beginning to turn translucent.
2. Throw in the garlic scape and continue for another few minutes. Once the outside is removed, toss in the beans and some salt. Cook for another 5-19 minutes before adding in the flowers.
3. Stir every now and then until flower has cooked down and scapes are soft. Pull of the heat, and enjoy (perhaps over quinoa, or pasta, or just on its own)!

And just remember, as you reflect upon this hearty legume, that this little world traveler has quite a past. Savour it!

We may make it onto Wellness Weekend, along with other fantastic recipes.

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