Light/Breezes

Light/Breezes
SUNRISE AT DEATH VALLEY-Photo by Tom Cochrun

Monday, July 29, 2013

ROMANCING THE FAVA

THE FINE ART OF THE SECOND SHUCK
The finesse of a culinary affair
     It approaches a near sensuality. Near, I say, lest you think I've gone around the bend. Perhaps it is the knowledge that your effort will lead eventually to a taste unique, a culinary dance rich with flavor, aroma and the certainty of kitchen alchemy where almost anything you do ends up delicious. Such is the Fava. And so the endeavor to get these  tasty morsels into their prime nakedness, while not an easy task, is not without its pleasure, in the moment and in the anticipation of what is to come.
     When Lana bought the beans we are growing on our back hill the lady said "So you're growing these for cover crop huh!"  
      "No, my husband loves to cook with them."
      "Really!"


    Native to North Africa, the Fava, also called the broad bean, has been eaten by almost all cultures through history. Getting to that point, the eating, begins the way it is with most beans, getting them out of the pod-a common enough exercise. But the Fava is special. It requires further attention, a kind of special seduction.
     Out of the outer shell, these nutty companions of succulent dalliances need further prompting for culinary amour. 
     Some will tell you to parboil them, to soften the casing in which they hold their precious treasure. NO, NO, NEVER do that! You are not mashing potatoes here, you are instead courting a freshness and taste that merely is being coy. You must speak the language of food love, with your hands and a longing caress.
     Each Fava bean needs to be seen for its individual structure and promise.  You begin by an examination to find the proper side and spot where you begin the journey.
    Carefully, I prefer a thumb nail, you incise a small point
to reveal the inner bean, the essence of the taste.
     You then begin a gentle squeeze, not unlike the way some Mediterranean men or women apply an approving, even if an uninvited, pinch of your derriere. 
     A digression-both Lana and I have been the receiver of such. It is a special kind of touch and practiced by those of a particular nation where this bean is prepared in rapturous excitement. Maybe there is a connection.
     As you can see in the frame below, the gentle pinch brings the tasty little dear out into the world and ready to satisfy. 
Such delight, ready for the kitchen and the eventual 
consummation of the romance.
CLINICAL NOTATIONS

   It may enhance your experience with Favas if you know that a particular kind of pasta, perhaps Italian sausage, cheese and or creme fraiche and wine await.  In fact having the wine open, and in a glass and near your work station is also advised.
    I've wondered if there couldn't be some use for the now discarded inner shell.  Ours goes into the compost which is a good purpose in itself.
   If your climate permits, doing the work outside also enhances the love affair.
   Cheers!  I wish you many happy hours in your romance of the Fava.
    See you down the trail.















8 comments:

  1. Sorry, but I couldn't stop thinking about Jody Foster while reading this post.

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  2. Glad you were not obsessing over Anthony Hopkins! Fa-fa-fa!

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  3. Sorry, can't help it. Regarding par-boiling the fava beans, you might read page 38 of the cookbook you recently recommended to me - Cooking at Home On Rue Tatin.

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  4. Don't you believe in culinary foreplay?

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  5. I like fava beans about as much as I like kale, which is to say not very much. My grandparents grew and cooked them all the time and tried to get me to eat them as a kid. I didn't like them, but after fifty years maybe it's time I gave them a second chance.

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  6. Maybe it's how they are prepared that makes them so good--or bad. Some of the ways they are eaten are unappealing to me. But saut├ęd with wine, garlic and seasoning until tender, add a dollop of creme fraiche then add to browned Italian sausage and put on top of fresh pasta--add some grated parma/regginano---and they are pretty good.

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  7. MORE EVIDENCE TO WORRY ABOUT YOU, TOMASO GRANDE.

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    Replies
    1. Must be the climate out here. Too much sun, produce and wine.

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