The arrival of Spring brought a multitude of fresh and colorful produce to the vegetable and fruit market. As I patiently stood in line waiting for my number to be called I admired the early morning rays of sun that beamed down on the crates overfilled with plump mushroom caps, dark purple artichokes and mounds of long skinny light green peas, which I thought were Edamame at first but soon came to find out that they were called fava beans (or broad beans) and are a staple to Mediterranean cuisine.
Shelling vegetables from our garden was one of my chores growing up, however it never felt like an obligation as long as there were fresh peas :: piselli in my queue which I could alternate from dropping them into the yellow plastic bowl on my lap or popping them into my mouth when no one was looking. Sometimes I would open up a pod and use my teeth to scrape them out; they were crunchy and burst of Spring.
These fava beans were fun to shuck :: sbaccellare. Not only did it bring me back to my childhood days, but since they were so big they were easy to open and had a delicate inside that reminded me of the thin Styrofoam that electronics are sometimes wrapped in. Good thing Mother Nature is taking extra care of these delicious beans. Later I found out that the smaller fava beans are typically eaten whole or cut up like regular green beans, shells and all.
A lot of my recipes come together when I open my fridge. I often buy fruits and vegetables randomly and when it’s time to cook I just stand in front of the open refrigerator door like a sculptor in front of a slab of marble :: marmo waiting for inspiration to hit. Sometimes it come easily, other times I need to close the fridge and brainstorm for a moment or two while I set the dinner table. If I’m really at a mental block I look at photos on pinterest or search for inspiration on some of my favorite blogs.
This recipe, however, came quite easily. I needed an appetizer for a dinner party and I wanted something healthy. Just like my classic guacamole recipe, you can really play around with the level of spice :: spezia and ingredients to alter this dip so it is suitable to your taste buds. Enjoy!
- 1 cup (160g) fava beans
- 1½ ripe avocados
- 2 tablespoons light cream cheese
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ¾ lime, juiced
- ½ green chili pepper, deseeded and finely chopped
- 1 pinch paprika
- 1 pinch garlic powder (o ¼ of a fresh clove, finely chopped)
- 1 pinch salt
- Bring a small pot of water to boil and blanch the fava beans until they begin to rise to the surface, about 2-3 minutes.
- Using a blender or immersion mixer, combine all ingredients together in the order listed above, tasting and adjusting the seasoning to how you see fit. Serve immediately with tortilla chips, crackers or toasted crusty bread, or conserve in the refrigerator covered tightly with plastic wrap or in a airtight container for up to 2-3 days.