Tunisian Fava Beans
If you wrinkle your nose on hearing "fava beans" and think "bitter" or "pasty", this recipe might well change your mind. If you already like fava beans, your gonna love this!
I found this recipe in a book called Mediterranean: Food of the Sun by Jacqueline Clark and Joanna Farrow - a remainder book I found for $5.99. This is the first I've tried, but it has lots of excellent looking recipes and many great photographs. After my experience with the Tunisian Fava Beans, I am excited to try many more from this book!
Tunisia is a North African country, one of the three countries of the Maghreb along with Algeria and Morocco. Couscous, cumin, and fiery harissa are characteristic of this region's cuisine. This recipe is refreshing, not hot, spiced with cumin, cilantro, and cool mint. The combination really worked for me and the favas were smooth and buttery.
I had some wonderful fresh fava beans from a friend, grown in her local community garden. They were the best fresh I've had so far ...and big! The key to buttery favas is to remove the bitter outer skin. It's a bit of work, but absolutely worth it. You also don't want to overcook them. The recipe calls for frozen favas, so feel free to use frozen if fresh aren't available.
Tunisian Fava Beans (adapted from Mediterranean: Food of the Sun by Jacqueline Clark and Joanna Farrow):
12 oz frozen or fresh fava beans
1 tbsp butter
4-5 scallions (I used 2), thinly sliced
1 tbsp cilantro, chopped
1 tsp fresh mint, chopped
1/2 - 1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp olive oil
Simmer the fava beans for 2-4 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. As soon as they are cool enough to handle, remove the outer skin of the favas.
Melt the butter in a skillet and cook the scallion gently for 3-4 minutes. Add the favas, cilantro, mint, cumin, olive oil and salt and stir to combine. Serve immediately.
We enjoyed these with Mediterranean Couscous.