The very first thing to find out about Greek fava is that it’s inconceivable to cease consuming it. The second is that this fava has nothing to do with fava beans. “Fava is a misnomer,” mentioned Nikos Tsepetis, the food-focused proprietor of the Ammos Resort and Purple Jane bakery in Crete. And he’s proper. A minimum of in English. Whereas the Greek title of this pleasant meze is complicated to Anglophones, the English translation is yellow cut up peas, which is sort of drab. The dish itself is something however.
A part of the native weight-reduction plan for millennia, fava, which refers each to the cut up peas and to the meze, is a pastel golden swirl of the pureed savory pulse, with sweetness from melted onion, depth from floral bay leaf, and flashes of brilliant distinction from the lemon, capers and pink onion that always anoint it. Copious quantities of olive oil (a lake, Tsepetis mentioned) guarantee a clean texture and wealthy taste. Once I first visited Greece a handful of years in the past, I couldn’t perceive why I by no means heard of fava earlier than, or why it was no more identified in the USA.
“I feel possibly it’s a little bit of an underdog,” mentioned Diane Kochilas, the Greek American cookbook writer and tv host who runs a cooking college on the island of Ikaria, informed me on a name. “I like this dish as a result of it’s a nice instance of a very historical meals that’s nonetheless related in trendy Greek cooking,” she added. Kochilas teaches fava in her lessons, and her college students, none of whom knew the dish earlier than, fall in love. “They’re actually startled by it in a great way,” she mentioned, “It’s very easy, it is vitally elegant, but additionally rustic and earthy, so it has lots of good issues going for it.”
Get the recipe: Greek Fava
There are myriad methods to serve fava aside from sliced or chopped pink onion, capers, lemon and olive oil, although that is how it’s finished at Cafe Avissinia, the favored Athens taverna open since 1985, whose dreamy model acquired me hooked. “It’s a household recipe of three generations,” mentioned Nicholas Touros, who took over from its founder, his mom, Ketty Koufonikola Touros. “I’m certain it’s even older, however that’s what we all know.”
The Avissinia recipe handily, albeit folksily, codified in an English-language cookbook (i.e. “one teacup fava” and “two teacups water”) is what I used as a information once I began getting ready the dish at house. Break up peas are dropped at a boil after which simmered with chopped onion, a lot of olive oil, a bay leaf and salt, till all the liquid is absorbed.
Aside from intermittent stirring to stop sticking (and it might nonetheless stick a bit anyway), there’s not a lot else to it. As soon as the peas have largely damaged down, the cook dinner faces a alternative. “Some folks prefer it a bit extra country-style, they usually simply press it with a fork,” mentioned Touros, however at Avissinia, “We do assist it a bit with a blender.”
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The fabulous fava at Ammos Resort is mixed and comes with the identical toppings, plus recent parsley and sliced radish. Kochilas recommends utilizing an immersion blender and serving it with seafood, braised mushrooms or eggplant and pantremeni, or “married,” as they do in Santorini, with tomatoes and capers cooked shortly right into a kind of relish.
The fava grown in Santorini is coveted, since its faintly candy taste mentioned to be a product of the native volcanic soil. And there’s proof from the archaeological website Akrotiri that fava has been eaten there since antiquity. However as of late, it may be tough or costly to get. “It makes much more sense for folks on Santorini to show their land into lodge area,” Kochilas defined. Fortunately, the island just isn’t the one producer. Greek fava is produced in Feneos within the Peloponnese, on the islands of Limnos and Schinoussa, and in northern Greece, amongst different locations.
American house cooks have just a few choices relating to sourcing elements. Whereas Greek markets typically carry imported fava, on a regular basis yellow cut up peas work simply as effectively. And the dish could be very forgiving. “All people loves fava, and for my part, it’s tough to make it incorrect,” mentioned Tsepetis. “It’s straightforward peasy.”
Get the recipe: Greek Fava